Friday, June 15, 2007

California Highway Patrol Officer Killed in Cruiser Wreck (The Yuma Sun )

California Highway Patrol Officer Killed in Cruiser Wreck

Updated: June 12th, 2007 02:37 PM EDT

Courtesy of The Yuma Sun/Terry Ketron
Highway Patrol Officer Robert Dickey's cruiser sits in the desert off of the eastbound lane of Interstate 8, June 10.
Courtesy of The Yuma Sun

WINTERHAVEN, Calif.-- A California Highway Patrol officer died in an automobile accident Sunday after his patrol car tumbled off the road and crashed.

The single-vehicle accident occurred at about 9 a.m. on Interstate 8 at California mile-marker 84.40, according to CHP officials.

Officer Robert F. Dickey of the Winterhaven's CHP office was driving eastbound in the right lane when, CHP investigators believe, a tire blew out on the left side of his car.

Officer Wes Boerner, CHP spokesman for the El Centro office, said Dickey was on duty at the time. They do not know how fast he was traveling or if he was involved in a call, but Boerner said he may have been pursuing a speeder.

Witnesses report seeing Dickey's patrol car tumble and go through a roadside fence. The car rolled before coming to rest right-side up on the side of the highway.

"The car is almost unrecognizable," Boerner said. "Initial reports was they weren't sure if it was a Highway Patrol car or a Border Patrol car ... It was damaged from the multiple impacts of the rollover."

Dickey suffered severe injuries in the crash but was alive and conscious at the scene, Boerner said. He was taken to Yuma Regional Medical Center by a Sun Care air ambulance.

He was pronounced dead at YRMC.

Eastbound traffic was diverted off I-8 to Ogilby Road Sunday while CHP investigated the accident scene. Boerner said they expected to have the eastbound I-8 lane near Ogilby reopened to traffic by 8 p.m. Sunday.

The U.S. Border Patrol initially responded to the scene, along with CHP and the California Department of Transportation.

Local workers with the American Red Cross also came out to provide water and other support services to the first-response personnel.

Dickey had been a CHP officer for five years, four of which he served in Winterhaven.

Boerner said they believe he was a resident of the Winterhaven community.

He added that though CHP tries to maintain its vehicles in the best mechanical shape, officers aren't immune to accidents.

"We're just people out driving around in cars. We're not invincible in any way to traffic collisions."

Republished with permission of The Yuma Sun.

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