Teen Texting May Be Cause in Motorcycle Cop Crash: CHP

Nathaniel Walker, 33, underwent surgery at Palomar Medical Center

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Chula Vista police officer Nathaniel Walker was seriously injured when he was struck by an oncoming car along State Route 78 Wednesday. NBC 7's Nicole Gonzales reports. (Published Thursday, May 30, 2013)

    A Chula Vista motorcycle officer was hospitalized after getting ejected from his bike in an accident in Ramona.

    Nathaniel Walker, 33, underwent surgery at Palomar Medical Center Wednesday night after he was struck by a driver along State Route 78

    Motorcycle Officer Seriously Injured in Crash

    [DGO] Motorcycle Officer Seriously Injured in Crash
    Chula Vista police officer Nathaniel Walker was seriously injured when he was struck by an oncoming car along State Route 78 Wednesday. NBC 7's Nicole Gonzales reports. (Published Thursday, May 30, 2013)

    The 8-year-veteran officer has serious injuries, but Chula Vista Police say he’s expected to make a full recovery.

    “He’s fortunate to be alive,” said Chula Vista police Capt. Gary Wedge. “He is in tremendous pain.”

    Walker was expected to remain hospitalized for several days.

    Investigators say a teenage driver was driving on a provisional license and may have been texting leading up to the collision.

    "Any charges or citations will be determined at the conclusion of the investigation. It’s too early to speculate, but I can tell you that there's evidence to indicate she was using her telephone via text just prior to the collision," said CHP Officer Brian Pennings.

    A 61-year-old driver in a Chevy HHR going east on SR-78 was trying to turn left onto Earlham Street, when a 17-year-old girl failed to stop behind him according to CHP officers.

    The HHR crossed into oncoming traffic right in front of Walker’s motorcycle.

    “The officer had no time to react. He collided with the right front of the HHR. The force of the collision ejected him from the motorcycle in the air. He landed in the windshield of the Ford Fusion,” Officer Brian Pennings said.

    The drivers in both vehicles were also transported to a nearby hospital with moderate injuries.

    Walker was assisting instructors in a motorcycle academy for new motor officers. Wednesday’s exercise was the longest ride of the course.

    Officers from all over San Diego County showed support for the officer who has been a part of the Chula Vista motorcycle unit for 3 years.

    Fellow officers showed up throughout the night, pulling for his recovery.

    “The support has been tremendous. As you can imagine, he’s a part of the family, part of the law enforcement family. Not just Chula Vista Officers. Other agencies have been by to show their support,” Wedge said.

    On Thursday, Capt. Wedge said Walker was now out of surgery, but still in a lot of pain. The Chula Vista Police Department is not releasing the extent of Walker's injuries, only saying that they're significant.

    Wedge said Walker could be released from the hospital as early as Friday, but will most likely be released over the weekend.

    It could be several months before he returns to work.

    Brian Pennings with the CHP said the crash is still under investigation, and will eventually need to be presented to the District Attorney. Depending on the findings from the investigation, the teenager involved in the crash could face anything from misdemeanors to felonies, Pennings said.