CHP officer killed in high speed chase
PLACERVILLE, Calif. (AP) ” A California Highway Patrol officer who was setting a spike strip to stop a driver involved in a high-speed chase was killed Tuesday after the driver swerved and struck him on the highway.
Douglas Scott Russell, 46, was hit on Highway 50 about 45 miles east of Sacramento and airlifted to the University of California, Davis Medical Center. The 22-year CHP veteran was pronounced dead at the hospital.
“Our officer was attempting to deploy the strip, and the suspect aimed his car at the officer and murdered him,” CHP assistant commissioner Kevin Green said.
As of 6:53 p.m. Tuesday the eastbound lane of Highway 50, east of Shingle Springs, is closed as officers investigate. Traffic is being diverted.
The chase began in the parking lot of an auto parts store in the Sacramento suburb of Rancho Cordova. Police were called to the shop to check on a man sleeping in his car, said Tim Curran, a spokesman for the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department.
“When we arrived and tapped on the window, he awoke, he saw the officers and immediately sped off,” Curran said.
The suspect, identified as David Zanon of Sacramento, tried to hit a Rancho Cordova officer head-on during the pursuit, as well as another CHP officer deploying a spike strip, Curran said. Russell was the third officer Zanon tried to strike.
Zanon was apprehended and taken to Sutter Roseville Medical Center. Green said he had minor injuries and would be arrested after his release from the hospital.
Zanon is a registered drug offender with a misdemeanor warrant for resisting arrest, the sheriff’s department said.
Russell, who is survived by his wife, is the second highway patrol officer to be killed on the job this year, spokeswoman Fran Clader said. Since the agency began keeping records in 1929, 212 state troopers have died in the line of duty.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger released a statement Tuesday regarding the death of Russell.
“Today, Californians mourn the loss of Officer Russell who gave his life in the line of duty while protecting his fellow citizens,” Schwarzenegger said. “Our law enforcement officers deserve our utmost respect and gratitude for the sacrifices they make every day to ensure our safety. The loss of one of our brave officers is a tremendous tragedy that weighs heavily on the hearts of all Californians. Maria and I express our deepest sympathies to the family of Officer Russell and will pray for their comfort during this difficult time.”
In honor of Officer Russell, Capitol flags will be flown at half-staff.