Odessa Officer Donny Rocha Jr.
Photo credit: Courtesy Photo
The Odessa Police officer who was taken to the hospital over the weekend suffered his injuries after he was hit by an Ector County Sheriff's deputy.
Ector County Sheriff Mark Donaldson said the deputy, David Escudero, was driving east on West Eighth Street toward Overton Avenue on the inside lane when the police officer, who was already at the scene, ran in front of the county vehicle.
"In the video, you can't see the officer until he's in his (the deputy's) lane," Donaldson said.
Despite swerving to the left to avoid the officer, Escudero still hit police officer Donny Rocha Jr., Donaldson said.
Odessa Police spokesman Cpl. Steve LeSueur said Rocha, who was transported to Medical Center Hospital, suffered injuries not considered to be life-threatening. MCH spokeswoman Tiffany Harston said Rocha was listed in 'fair' condition as of Monday afternoon.
When contacted at the hospital, Rocha's family declined comment and referred the Odessa American to LeSueur.
Donaldson said the incident started just before 11 p.m. Saturday after sheriff's deputies saw two Ford Mustangs racing in the county.
During the chase, one of the vehicles started to drive into the city limits on a portion of West University Boulevard; however, the deputy was able to get the license plate number and stopped the chase, Donaldson said.
The second Mustang went south on North West County Road before turning on West Eighth Street, Donaldson said. With assistance from the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Odessa Police Department, Donaldson said law enforcement officials were able to use traffic spikes to stop the vehicle.
The driver of the Mustang, identified as Josh Marquez Garcia, 122269 Middleground Drive, got out of the vehicle and started running, Donaldson said. Garcia was later charged with evading arrest and was released from the Ector County Detention Center Sunday on a $10,000 bond.
Donaldson said the accident involving Escudero and Rocha happened when the deputy was showing up to help in the search for Garcia.
"I was out there, I saw the skid marks," Donaldson said of the deputy's attempt to avoid the collision. "He braked and swerved but just couldn't avoid him."
Donaldson said he couldn't recall any other accidents between the police department and the sheriff's office.
DPS is currently investigating the accident.
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McClatchy-Tribune News Service