Saticoy, CA – A 37-year veteran of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office (VCSO) was trapped inside his overturned patrol vehicle after a motorist intentionally rammed into the back of his cruiser from behind.
The VCSO released photos of the injured sergeant’s heavily-damaged patrol vehicle on Twitter on Aug. 18, calling the incident an “unprovoked attack.”
According to investigators, the sergeant was driving along the Santa Clara River Bridge at approximately 2:15 a.m. on Tuesday when another driver suddenly came up behind him and crashed into his marked patrol vehicle from the rear, KTLA reported.
The sergeant accelerated and changed lanes, initially “thinking the driver of the white sport utility vehicle had fallen asleep at the wheel or was driving under the influence,” according to the VCSO.
But a moment later, the driver of the vehicle that crashed into him “rammed the patrol vehicle a second time, causing it to spin out of control and flip onto its side,” police said.
The suspect, later identified as 28-year-old Frankie Avalos, sped away from the scene, leaving the sergeant trapped inside the overturned vehicle.
The sergeant, who has served the VCSO for nearly four decades, suffered minor injuries during the crash, KTLA reported.
He was able to use his radio to broadcast his location, as well as a detailed description of his attacker.
UNPROVOKED ATTACK: A suspect twice used his vehicle to ram into our HQ patrol Sgt's cruiser early this morning in Saticoy, causing the Sgt's unit to overturn. Sgt. has minor injuries, and suspect in custody. pic.twitter.com/QU9clLQpc0
— Ventura Co. Sheriff (@VENTURASHERIFF) August 18, 2020
The sergeant was pulled from his destroyed patrol car by rescue workers and was transported to a local hospital, KTLA reported.
He is expected to make a full recovery.
VCSO deputies later spotted the suspect’s vehicle in Santa Paula and attempted to pull him over.
Avalos refused to stop and led deputies on a high-speed chase, KTLA reported.
He eventually bailed out of his vehicle and took of running, at which point one of the deputies tackled him to the ground, according to the VCSO.
Avalos, who already had a slew of other cases pending, was booked into jail on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, driving under the influence of drugs, hit-and-run, evading, and attempted murder, KTLA reported.
His bail was set at over $1 million.
According to VCSO Captain Eric Buschow, Avalos has been arrested 20 times over the course of the past 10 years, KEYT reported.
He was also allegedly involved in two other police pursuits this month, but was released from jail in both cases, according to KABC.