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Martinez CHP Officers Injured in Wrong-Way Collision

Suspected drunk driver went wrong way on I-680, crashed into pursuing officers.

By Bay City News

Two California Highway Patrol officers are recovering after they were hit by a suspected drunken driver who was going the wrong way on Interstate Highway 680 in Martinez early Saturday, CHP officer Hector Baiza said.

The crash happened about 4:30 a.m. on northbound I-680 near the Marina Vista Avenue onramp just before the toll plaza at the entrance to the Benicia-Martinez Bridge.

The suspect, later identified as 45-year-old Suisun City resident Wayne Wendhall, was driving north on I-680 toward the bridge and had just passed the toll plaza when he made a U-turn and began driving the wrong way in the No. 1 lane.

Meanwhile, two CHP officers in a patrol car were in the same lane heading toward the bridge.

They didn't see the suspect's vehicle until the last minute and "the two vehicles nearly collided head on," Baiza said.

"Luckily the officers were able to veer toward the left and the suspect's vehicle hit the right corner and entire right side of the CHP vehicle," Baiza said.

Both vehicles became disabled and all three occupants were transported to John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek with minor injuries.

The CHP officer who was riding in the passenger seat of the patrol car sustained the most serious injuries, which included numerous cuts on his face from broken glass, Baiza said.

Wendhall was arrested at the hospital on suspicion of felony drunken driving causing injuries.

Both of the CHP officers worked in the Martinez CHP office and each had two years of experience with the department, Baiza said.

The highway was closed for about an hour and a half while crews investigated the crash and cleared the wreckage, but because it was so early in the morning, traffic was not significantly impacted, Baiza said.

Alex Cortlund April 08, 2011 at 02:22 AM
Gee whiz, another rare example where cops' lives and limbs are imperiled-again, not much public interest in this side of the coin. I thank these officers for toeing the line and fulfilling their duty.

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