Hit-and-run suspect David Francis Cepeda Pangilinan. Photo courtesy El Cajon Police

Authorities reached out to the public Tuesday for help in finding a man suspected of fleeing in a rental SUV and severely injuring an El Cajon police officer by causing him to be hit by another vehicle.

Patrol personnel responding to a report of a Volkswagen SUV blocking the roadway in the 100 block of West Washington Avenue at about 8:30 a.m. Monday found a man and a young woman asleep in the illegally parked vehicle, according to police.

“When officers woke the occupants, the driver provided identification for someone other than himself and officers began to investigate,” Lt. Randy Soulard said. “During this contact, the driver suddenly started the vehicle and began to put it into gear.”

While trying to detain the man and keep him from driving off, one of the officers wound up trapped partially inside the SUV and was dragged down the street until another moving vehicle struck him, sending him tumbling onto the road as the fleeing motorist sped away.

Medics took the lawman to a hospital, where he was admitted in critical but stable condition, Soulard said.

Investigators identified 41-year-old David Francis Cepeda Pangilinan as the SUV driver, Soulard said. He was described as a 5-feet-6-inch man from Guam weighing around 200 pounds with short brown hair and brown eyes.

Police later found the Volkswagen, which belongs to a San Diego car- rental company, abandoned a short distance from where the officer was injured.

The passenger in the SUV, who appeared to be in her late teens or early 20s, also remained at large as of Tuesday morning.

Anyone with information about the incident or the location of the alleged driver was asked to call the El Cajon Police Department at 619-579-3311 or Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477.

–City News Service

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