A DUI driver was arrested after striking a CHP officer who had gotten out of his car to help a motorist in a disabled vehicle on Interstate 80 in Berkeley this week, authorities report.
The officer was taken to a regional trauma center in critical condition after the driver struck him at freeway speeds, said Officer David Arias of the California Highway Patrol’s Oakland bureau. As of Thursday, the officer remained in the hospital but is now in stable condition.
The incident began just after 12:45 a.m. Tuesday when two officers from the Oakland CHP stopped on eastbound I-80 near University Avenue to help the stranded driver.
“As one officer walked around the left side of the disabled vehicle, a Dodge Ram traveling in the slow lane sideswiped the occupied patrol vehicle and ultimately struck the officer who was on foot,” the CHP said in a prepared statement.
The officer who was still inside the patrol vehicle and the occupant of the disabled vehicle were uninjured.
According to the CHP, the driver of the Dodge “fled the scene but was soon located on the right shoulder of eastbound I-80 at Pinole Valley Road.”
Authorities said the driver, 21-year-old Jimmy Jimenez of Vacaville, was asleep in the driver’s seat when officers arrived.
He was arrested on suspicion of felony driving under the influence and felony hit-and-run, the CHP said.
Jimenez was booked into Santa Rita Jail but, as of Thursday, was no longer in custody.
The CHP asks anyone with information regarding the crash to call the Oakland Area CHP office at 510-457-2875.
Featured photo: Oakland CHP