A California Highway Patrol officer preparing to make a traffic stop just east of Moreno Valley today made a U-turn directly in front of a pickup truck, resulting in a collision that left him and two seniors hospitalized, authorities said.
The crash happened about 6 a.m. on Gilman Springs Road, east of Alessandro Boulevard, in a sparsely populated area known as the Badlands, according to the CHP.
An agency statement released by the San Gorgonio station identified the officer only by his last name, Smith, and the truck occupants as 76-year-old John Ellison and his 75-year-old wife, Caroline, both of Aguanga.
According to the CHP, Smith was in a black-and-white Ford SUV patrol unit when he stopped on the westbound shoulder of Gilman Springs to observe passing vehicles, looking for speeders. When a dark-colored sedan raced by, going eastbound on Gilman Springs, Smith engaged the patrol vehicle’s overhead lights and threw it into gear, gaining speed before initiating a U-turn to pursue the sedan, the CHP reported.
“Officer Smith failed to notice the Chevrolet (pickup) approaching to his left rear (headed west),” according to the agency’s statement. “(John) Ellison suddenly observed the Ford directly ahead.”
The victim jammed his brakes and swerved his pickup to the left to avoid colliding with the patrol unit now in his path, but the two impacted in the middle of the two-lane road, according to the CHP. Both vehicles sustained heavy front-end damage.
Caroline Ellison suffered major injuries, as did the officer. John Ellison suffered moderate injuries. All three were taken to Riverside University Medical Center in Moreno Valley for treatment.
There was no word on what, if any consequences, the officer may face as a result of the collision.