A teen driver was arrested on suspicion of DUI after a vehicle slammed into a San Bernardino police officer who was making an arrest on Monday night, authorities said.
The collision occurred on Monday shortly after 10:30 p.m. at the intersection of Mount Vernon and Fifth streets (map), Lt. Dario Robinson of the San Bernardino Police Department said.
The officer had made contact with two possible graffiti suspects, and was in the process of arresting one, when a vehicle lost control and struck the officer and his patrol car, Robinson said.
The officer’s body was halfway inside the vehicle when he was struck, according to San Bernardino police Lt. Richard Lawhead. His head collided with the dashboard.
The officer was rushed to the hospital and was being treated for moderate to severe injuries, according to a news release from the department.
The officer suffered a broken back and a laceration to the head, Lawhead said. He was reported to be in stable condition and was expected to survive.
His identity has not been released, but according to Lawhead, the officer was in his 30s and had been with the department for about six years.
Police identified the driver of the vehicle as 18-year-old Steven Portillo of San Bernardino, according to the release.
A nearby convenience store at a gas station had surveillance video that showed Portillo paying for something just before the crash. A clerk said Portillo appeared drunk or under the influence of drugs.
Portillo initially tried to leave the scene, but was apprehended, the release stated. He was also taken to at an area hospital for treatment.
The vandalism suspect, who was in the back of the patrol car, was not injured, Lawhead said.
An investigation into the crash was underway.
KTLA’s Rose Razeghi and Jim Nash contributed to this report.