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DUI suspect slams into motorcycle police officer

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POSTED January 19, 2018 1:27 a.m.

A Manteca resident was taken into custody after allegedly slamming into a Lathrop Police Services motorcycle officer Wednesday evening while driving under the influence.
Megan Lopez, 30, was arrested when her 2002 Dodge veered over the line while traveling eastbound on Lathrop Road, striking the back of the motorcycle that had pulled over a motorist suspected of committing a traffic infraction.
The officer was thrown to the ground and later transported to San Joaquin General Hospital with minor injuries. He is said to be recovering at home with pain in his shoulder and hip as well as scrapes and bruises from the accident.
Lopez is believed to have only been traveling at 20-25 miles per hour.
According to the California Highway Patrol, which investigated the incident, Lopez smashed into the back of the motorcycle which was then pushed into the deputy, throwing him onto the ground. The motorcycle then smashed into the back of the 2014 Mercedes that had been stopped on the south shoulder of Lathrop Road.
That driver was not injured in the accident. According to Lathrop Police Chief James Hood, the driver had requested that the officer let them get out of the vehicle but was advised to stay behind the wheel for their safety shortly before the collision.
Lopez was arrested and booked into the San Joaquin County Jail on suspicion of causing an accident while under the influence of alcohol. She was released from custody on Thursday. 
While the Lathrop Police have come under fire by some residents along Lathrop Road recently after a series of accidents – two of which occurred along the section of roadway that was just recently widened – Hood believes that both accidents had nothing to do with the configuration of the roadway.
Per the request and the vocal concerns of residents, Hood says that he has had deputies monitoring speed and other traffic issues along Lathrop Road nearly around-the-clock since construction began. He noted that a four-car chain-reaction accident earlier this week was caused by a driver who failed to stop when traffic in front of him had slowed for construction – smashing into the back vehicle and setting the chain reaction into motion.
The other accident, he said, took place after a motorist tried to outrun a semi-truck coming down the westerly grade separation and clipped the front end of the vehicle as the lane ended. That motorist did not have a valid California driver’s license or insurance, and fled the scene at a high rate of speed to avoid arrest only to lose control further up Lathrop Road and come to rest not far from residential units.
Wednesday evening’s accident with the officer, Hood said, had nothing to do with the construction and was further evidence that his deputies have been working to monitor speed along that corridor.
Both accidents that have concerned residents, he said, have more to do with the ongoing construction that the safety of the configuration once it’s completed.
“I believe that Lathrop Road will be safer once all of the lanes are open,” he said. “There are things that we didn’t have before, like sidewalks on both sides of the street, that will only enhance safety for motorists and for pedestrians.”

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email jcampbell@manteabulletin.com or call 209.249.3544.

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