An on-duty San Diego Police Department officer was injured when a suspected drunk driver T-boned his patrol car, officials said.
According to Lt. Jim Walker, the collision happened at around 2:30 a.m. Sunday on westbound Mission Gorge Road at the northbound State Route 125 intersection in Santee.
The officer has been identified as 24-year-old Travis Betley, according to SDPD Assistant Chief Boyd Long.
Betley has been in the police force for 14 months, with four months patrolling without a partner.
Lt. Walker said an SDPD officer was returning to his beat after dropping off a prisoner at Las Colinas Detention Facility when he was T-boned by a suspected drunk driver, 21-year-old Samuel Sullivan, in a pick-up truck who ran through a red light.
Sullivan was traveling at a high rate of speed, according to officials. The truck slammed into the driver's door of the SDPD patrol car.
The impact from the crash knocked both vehicles off the roadway, Lt. Walker said.
Betley had to be extricated from the wreckage by emergency crews using the Jaws of Life. The process took about 45 minutes.
A witness at the scene said he saw the crash and heard the officer in distress honking his horn inside the wrecked patrol car.
Both Betley and Sullivan were transported to local hospitals. Long said it will be months of recovery for Betley, as he sustained serious injuries including broken leg bones in addition to internal injuries. It could take a year before he returns to work.
Sullivan, an Orange County resident, sustained minor injuries. He later admitted to being under the influence of alcohol and was arrested and booked into jail.
Three lanes of Mission Gorge Road were shut down by officials following the collision.
Those wishing to help Betley may contact the San Diego Police Officer's Association.