California Highway Patrol Officer Vincent Smith remained in serious condition Sunday after being hit by a FedEx truck while trying to clear the roadway of two other vehicles involved in a hit-and-run crash.
Smith, an 18-year veteran, responded with other officers to a two-vehicle crash on Highway 50 near 16th Street in Sacramento just after 3 a.m. Saturday, according to CHP spokesman Officer Michael Bradley. One driver involved in the crash had fled on foot, and both vehicles remained in the roadway, Bradley said. The officers activated their overhead patrol lights and were working to move the vehicles onto the highway’s shoulder.
Before they could finish clearing the roadway, Smith was hit by a FedEx tractor-trailor driven by Gregory Anthony Ramirez, 41, of San Lorenzo, Bradley said. Ramirez was taken to the CHP’s south Sacramento station for evaluation and subsequently was arrested on suspicion of felony driving under the influence causing injury and illegal drug possession. Bradley did not say what substance Ramirez is believed to have ingested or what drug was found.
Smith suffered major injuries to his upper body, Bradley said, and remains in serious but stable condition. The CHP would not identify the hospital where he is being treated. Bradley said Smith has been surrounded by family members and that officers were taking shifts to stand watch at his room.
Bradley said FedEx is aiding in the investigation. “First and foremost our thoughts are with the officer and others involved in this incident, and we are cooperating fully with the authorities as they conduct their investigation,” company spokesman David Westrick said in a statement Saturday.
The south Sacramento CHP office has received numerous calls from area residents asking after Smith and wishing him well, Bradley said, adding, “We appreciate the public support.”
Ramirez was booked into the Sacramento County jail and is scheduled for a court arraignment at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday. The CHP is still looking for the unidentified driver who left the scene of the initial crash.
Jessica Hice: @jesserpea