An SDPD officer seriously injured in a collision with a suspected drunk driver is making a slow but successful recovery, his family said in a statement Friday.
Officer Travis Betley, 24, suffered major injuries while on-duty early Sunday morning when a suspected drunk driver T-boned his patrol car on westbound Mission Gorge Road at the northbound State Route 125 intersection in Santee.
The DUI suspect, 21-year-old Orange County resident Samuel Sullivan, was driving a pickup truck at a high rate of speed and ran through a red light, slamming into the driver’s door of Officer Betley’s car.
Officials said the force of the impact from the crash knocked both vehicles off the roadway. Betley became stuck inside his patrol car and had to be extricated from the wreckage by emergency crews using the Jaws of Life.
Officer Betley sustained serious wounds, including broken leg bones and internal injuries.
Sullivan sustained minor injuries and later admitted to being under the influence of alcohol. He was booked into jail.
Nearly one week after the crash, Betley’s family spoke out about his current condition and ongoing recovery process.
The family said Betley has undergone several successful surgeries and is now beginning physical therapy.
“He has a positive attitude and is ready to face the challenges ahead,” said his family in a statement. “Travis is a strong young man and is determined to return to the field as quickly as possible.”
The family thanked the community and San Diego Police Department for their concern and support during this difficult time. The family also had this reminder for the public:
“While focusing on the future and Travis’ recovery, the family would like to encourage all to be a good friend, neighbor and family member and remind everyone of the dangers of driving while under the influence.”
According to SDPD Assistant Chief Boyd Long, Betley has been in the police force for 14 months. He’s been patrolling for four months without a partner.
Given his injuries, Long told NBC 7 it could take up to one year before the rookie returns to work.
Those wishing to help Betley may contact the San Diego Police Officer’s Association.