A California Highway Patrol cruiser. Photo by Chris Stone

A 32-year-old man was jailed Wednesday on suspicion of driving under the influence after he allegedly struck and injured a California Highway Patrol officer on state Route 94 in Lemon Grove, then fled the scene.

Aralas Ector of Spring Valley was behind the wheel of a 2006 Nissan Altima heading eastbound on state Route 94 near College Avenue around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday when a CHP officer spotted him driving erratically with damage to the front of his vehicle, CHP Officer Travis Garrow said.

Officer Robert Stevens, a 1 1/2-year veteran of the department, had just entered the eastbound freeway at Kelton Avenue after clearing debris from the westbound lanes when he saw the Nissan “had prior collision damage to its hood impairing the driver’s field of view,” Garrow said.

It was not immediately clear when the previous collision occurred.

The officer passed the Nissan, which was driving between traffic lanes, and pulled over on the right shoulder to wait for the sedan to pass so he could pull it over.

As he waited on the shoulder, the Nissan pulled up behind him and came to a stop directly behind his patrol vehicle, Garrow said.

Stevens got out of his vehicle to contact the Nissan driver, but Ector allegedly accelerated directly at the officer, who jumped onto the trunk of his patrol vehicle in an attempt to avoid being hit, he said. Ector’s vehicle allegedly struck the officer’s legs, then hit the patrol car’s driver’s-side door before continuing eastbound.

Stevens, who suffered moderate injuries in the crash, made a radio call to notify dispatchers that he was injured and provide a description of the car and its location, Garrow said.

Another CHP officer spotted the Nissan — which was traveling between 15 and 20 mph — and ultimately arrested Ector near Lemon Grove Avenue on suspicion of DUI causing injury and felony hit-and-run, Garrow said.

A second driver in a 2008 Pontiac G6 sedan, a 26-year-old woman believed to be Ector’s girlfriend, arrived at the location where Ector was being evaluated for DUI, the officer said.

Officers contacted her, then arrested her on suspicion of DUI, Garrow said.

Stevens was taken to Sharp Grossmont Hospital for treatment of his injuries, he said, adding that the officer has since been released and was expected to make a full recovery.

Updated at 10:45 a.m. Aug. 14, 2019

— City News Service

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