A Border Patrol agent is positioned by the border fence.
A Border Patrol agent. Photo by Chris Stone

A U.S. Border Patrol agent struck by a suspected drunken hit-and-run driver at an Interstate 15 checkpoint was in stable condition this week undergoing treatment for life-threatening injuries.

The incident began south of Temecula at the line separating Riverside and San Diego counties.

According to California Highway Patrol Officer Mike Lassig, at about 2:20 a.m. Monday, Border Patrol agents from the Murrieta station were operating the checkpoint on northbound I-15 at Rainbow Valley Boulevard.

Lassig said the agent, whose name has not been released, was standing within the stop zone. Then a driver he identified as Jaime Alejandro Garcia of San Bernardino, proceeded into the area at 60 mph in a 2013 Mini Cooper.

The agent, in the No. 2 lane, was hit and “propelled up and over the Mini Cooper” Lassig said. The victim landed in the freeway’s lanes.

“(Garcia) continued to drive his vehicle northbound on I-15,” the spokesman said. “USBP agents caught up to the vehicle and conducted a traffic stop approximately one mile from the collision scene.”

They took the suspect, 30, into custody without incident. CHP officers determined him to be under the influence, Lassig said.

By Monday afternoon, Garcia had posted a $75,000 bond and was released from the Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta. He was booked hours earlier on suspicion of driving under the influence, hit-and-run resulting in great bodily injury and DUI resulting in injuries.

Garcia is tentatively due to make a court appearance on March 11, according to jail records. No charges had been filed in the case by Wednesday, as it was under review by the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.

Garcia’s passenger, Karen Vianey Devora, 28, of San Bernardino, was arrested on suspicion of obstructing law enforcement officers and also booked into the Byrd center. She posted a $5,000 bond and was released a short time later.

Authorities shut down northbound I-15 for almost five hours during the investigation, Lassig said.

The agent remains at Inland Valley Medical Center in Wildomar. Supervisory Border Patrol Agent Pekae Michael told City News Service his condition remains stable, but she declined to disclose further details.

City News Service