Crime - Sacto 911

He left a CHP officer near death on a freeway. ‘Justice was served’ on Friday

Austin Barry Scott will spend the next 15 years in state prison for the attempted murder of a veteran north area California Highway Patrol officer he mowed down and critically injured during a traffic stop on Interstate 80 near Antelope last April.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Patrick Marlette handed down the sentence Friday against the Reno man who waived his right to appeal the ruling and also waived his time credits assuring he will serve his full 15-year, four-month term, said court officials. Scott was found guilty in March.

Recovery remains long and arduous for Motor Officer Michael Ericson, whose life changed April 7, 2016 when Scott, 29, threw the Ford F-350 pickup truck he stole from his mother’s Nevada home into reverse on a center freeway median ramming and running over the patrolman.

Ericson’s arm, hips and pelvis were shattered and his carotid artery was torn in the near-fatal collision that brought an air ambulance onto the mid-afternoon southbound interstate to rush him into surgery. Other operations followed to stabilize his broken body with titanium rods, plates and screws and more than a year later Ericson continues to work toward the day he can return to full duty. Ericson is on limited duty at the patrol’s North Sacramento office.

On Friday, Ericson’s captain said Scott’s sentencing provided a sense of closure for Ericson’s family and fellow officers and remarked on the man he said has “worked harder than anyone I’ve ever seen” to return to full duty.

“It’s been a long road to get here. Officer Ericson would have loved to been to full duty by the time the sentencing hearing occurred … but he looks forward to getting back on a motorcycle someday,” said Capt. Andy Williams, the patrol’s North Sacramento commander. “The reaction is closure for the family, command and for Mike Ericson himself so he can focus on his rehabilitation. We’re all very glad that this is over so that we can move forward. Justice was served and the system seemed to work.”

Scott, who faced other charges including vehicle theft, evading a peace officer causing serious bodily injury and assault with a deadly weapon against a peace officer, was on his way to Santa Cruz, attorneys said at trial.

He cut a path from his mother’s Reno-area home into California, using back roads and staying off the interstate. But his plan was thrown into chaos with the Antelope traffic stop. After running down Ericson, Scott abandoned the Ford for a roadside work truck and led authorities on a high-speed chase out of Sacramento County and across Yolo County before he was finally captured in Solano County near Fairfield.

Darrell Smith: 916-321-1040, @dvaughnsmith