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Manteca Police officer injured during pursuit
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A Manteca police officer is currently at home recovering from injuries sustained after a fall earlier this week.

Early Tuesday morning, while attempting to chase down a suspect on I-205 outside of Tracy after a vehicle pursuit turned into a foot pursuit, the officer jumped over the guardrail after the suspect only to find that there was a steep embankment on the other side that dropped down onto a grouping of sharp, jagged rocks.

The officer sustained moderate to severe facial injuries as a result of the fall and was transported to an area hospital where he was treated and released. He has not yet been cleared to come back to work.

According to police, the incident started late Monday night and carried into early Tuesday morning after an officer observed several vehicle infractions near Main Street and begin following the motorist. What started as a standard vehicle code enforcement effort quickly became a suspected DUI stop and when the suspect fled, officers gave pursuit out onto the Highway 120 Bypass and eventually onto I-205 towards Tracy.

The pursuit was initially called off after the suspect got onto the freeway on the wrong side, and when he crossed the center median to begin moving with the flow of the traffic the pursuit was reinitiated. The suspect was not apprehended, and police are currently investigating the incident to and identify the driver responsible. He is described as a Hispanic male in his 20’s, but no other information is being released at this time.

The incident occurred just minutes after new Interim Manteca Police Chief Mike Harden came on duty at midnight on Tuesday, and Harden’s first official action as Manteca’s Top Cop was to drive to the area hospital to check on his officer.

Harden, the retired Modesto Police Chief, was hired by the Manteca City Council earlier this month to fill a vacancy that was created with the release of police chief Jodie Estarziau. Acting Police Chief Mike Aguilar has resumed his duties as one of the department’s two captains.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.