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CHP officer suffers broken legs when SUV hits his patrol car during traffic stop

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A California Highway Patrol officer is hospitalized with two broken legs after his patrol car was rear-ended by an SUV during a traffic stop.

CHP officials say the officer had pulled a car over on the northbound side of Highway 101 in Santa Rosa around 8:00 a.m. Sunday when the SUV, driven by a 22-year-old woman, slammed into the patrol car.

The officer was standing by his car looking at its computer screen from the passenger side when the Mitsubishi Montero SUV hit the right rear of the patrol vehicle. Investigators estimate the Montero was going between 55 and 65 miles per hour at the time of the crash.

With the force of the impact, the patrol unit hit the officer, throwing him inside. The impact also forced the CHP car forward, hitting the car that the officer had just pulled over. The patrol unit ended up blocking the middle lane of the highway.

The driver of the car that had been pulled over by the officer got out of his car, helped the officer out of the patrol car, and was able to get him to the side of the freeway and out of the way of oncoming traffic.

The driver of the Mitsubishi has been identified as Rachel Garris, of Corning.

She was also hurt in the incident, suffering moderate injuries. The driver of the car that had been pulled over was not hurt.

The name of the injured officer has not been released.

It’s not known what caused Garris to drive her SUV onto the shoulder of the freeway, but the CHP says alcohol and drugs have been ruled out as a factor in the crash.

After the crash, all lanes briefly blocked, causing a massive backup on the freeway.

Once traffic was allowed past the crash scene again, two right lanes remained closed until about 3:00 p.m. so that a Caltrans crew could do repair work to a part of the roadway that was damaged in the crash.