A suspected repeat drunken driver rammed an Escondido police officer’s patrol car early Thursday, which left the officer injured.
The officer was checking out a report of a domestic violence incident in the vicinity Vermont Avenue and Escondido Boulevard around 4:15 a.m. when the driver of a white Honda Civic — later identified as 19-year-old Mario Ontiveros — sped toward him, said Escondido police Lt. Justin Murphy.
The officer tried to steer out of the Honda’s path, but Ontiveros rear-ended the cruiser, Murphy said. Ontiveros pulled away from the damaged police car, struck two parked vehicles then tried to run off after stopping his car in front of a residence a few blocks away.
Murphy said the officer chased Ontiveros for about a quarter-mile, but had to give up due to “significant lower back pain due to the collision impact.”
Officers later found Ontiveros on the grounds of nearby Juniper Elementary School and arrested him without incident, according to the lieutenant.
The injured officer was taken to Palomar Medical Center to be treated for his injuries, but has since been released. Ontiveros was also briefly hospitalized before he was booked into the Vista Detention Center on suspicion of felony drunken driving, hit-and-run and driving with a suspended license, Murphy said.
Murphy said Ontiveros was arrested in August 2013 on suspicion of drunken driving and hit-and-run.
Anyone with additional information on the incident was asked to call Officer Nick Kluka at (760) 839-4966.
—City News Service
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