A city traffic enforcement officer is in serious condition at Cottage Hospital after an RV — allegedly driven by someone trying to escape a ticket — sideswiped her three-wheeled parking enforcement vehicle and pushed her into another truck Thursday afternoon. Police got a call just before 1 p.m. to Canon Perdido between Anacapa and State streets to find the woman pinned inside her vehicle, which is a small, golf cart-like vehicle that seats only one person.
According to Sgt. Mike McGrew, the officer was writing a ticket, and the driver of the RV attempted to leave the scene. The RV sideswiped her vehicle across the street from the Lobero Theatre, pushing it into the rear bumper of a delivery truck and breaking the front windshield of the traffic vehicle. The driver of the RV pulled the vehicle over, ran away, and was gone by the time police arrived.
At some point the registered owner of the vehicle showed up, wondering what was happening. He eventually was taken into custody for questioning, after his story came out sounding “fishy,” said McGrew. A female also associated with the RV was located; she was found to be carrying a hypodermic needle, and was also taken into custody. It was unclear at the time whether either was the actual driver of the RV.
The incident brought out both Police Chief Cam Sanchez and Deputy Chief Frank Mannix to check out the scene, as traffic investigators tried to piece together what happened. Canon Perdido was closed for some time for the investigation.
McGrew said that, if it’s determined who the driver was and whether he or she intentionally hit the traffic enforcement officer, the person could be charged with assault with a deadly weapon.