Federal Express truck driver Gregory Anthony Ramirez faced a Sacramento judge Tuesday on charges of reckless driving causing injury and narcotics possession days after slamming his tractor-trailer into a California Highway Patrol officer, seriously injuring the veteran patrolman.
Officer Vincent Smith, an 18-year patrol veteran, remains in intensive care and is listed in serious condition at UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, CHP officials said Tuesday.
Downtown, a doleful Ramirez, 41, of San Lorenzo, faced Sacramento Superior Court Judge Jaime Román from inside his courtroom cell Tuesday afternoon, hands clasped and head bowed, as Roman read the charges before a bank of news cameras.
Ramirez will return to Román’s courtroom May 17. Roman set bail at $55,000, adding prosecutors’ request that if the San Lorenzo man made bail that he not drive with measurable alcohol or drugs in his system. The District Attorney’s Office declined Tuesday to provide information about the narcotics or a blood alcohol content for Ramirez.
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Smith was working to clear a two-car collision on Highway 50 near 16th Street about 3:30 a.m. Saturday after one of the drivers involved in the wreck fled, CHP officials said. Smith was struck as he and another officer were moving the crash-damaged vehicles off the roadway and sustained major upper body injuries.
Ramirez was taken to the CHP’s South Sacramento station where he was evaluated and arrested. Federal Express is aiding in the investigation, said CHP officials.
The weekend incident is but the latest in the Sacramento region involving CHP officers, including a deadly collision in March that claimed the life of Officer Nathan Daniel Taylor. Taylor was fatally struck by a car that veered out of control on an icy Interstate 80 near Donner Summit as he investigated a traffic collision.
In April, Officer Michael Ericson was critically injured when a man allegedly deliberately backed over the veteran officer with a stolen truck on an Interstate 80 median near Madison Avenue. Austin Barry Scott, 28, then led authorities on a chase into Solano County, where he was arrested near Fairfield.
Erickson’s condition has since improved to serious condition and he continues to recuperate in a local hospital, say CHP officials.
Scott, held in Sacramento County custody on suspicion of attempted murder, driving under the influence of drugs causing injury and auto theft in the April 7 incident, pleaded not guilty to the allegations Tuesday in Sacramento Superior Court and will face a preliminary hearing June 14.