A Ford Escape carrying two SBPD officers rests on its side after it was hit by a drunk driver exiting Highway 101

Two Santa Barbara police officers escaped relatively unscathed from a violent vehicle accident on the 4th of July when a drunk driver broadsided their car on Calle Real. At around 11 p.m., 29-year-old Jason Hunter — whose blood-alcohol level registered 0.17 percent two hours after the accident — was exiting northbound Highway 101 on the El Sueno Road offramp when his Subaru Outback hit a guardrail and flew airborne into the Calle Real intersection. It slammed broadside into the officers’ unmarked Ford Escape, causing it to roll onto its side and trapping Officer Craig Rullman and Officer Andrew Merrett within. They had just dropped off a detainee at the County Jail.

A Subaru Outback rests upside down after colliding with a Ford Escape carrying two police officers

The Subaru came to rest on its roof, and Hunter was knocked unconscious. The officers were able to radio for help from inside their car, and a good Samaritan climbed onto its side and helped them crawl out. Noticing Hunter’s car was smoking and smelled of gas, all three men then pulled him from the Subaru. Both officers were treated and released from Cottage Hospital. Hunter was also treated and later booked on drunk driving charges.


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