2 Fresno PD officers taken to hospital after SUV hits police car

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno police are trying to figure out what caused a car accident that landed two of their officers in the hospital. One officer has already been cleared to go back to work, and the other is in critical condition but is expected to be OK.

The officers were crossing the intersection of Blackstone and Herndon on Thursday night when they were hit. Investigators are relying on the traffic cameras in the area to help them figure out how the accident happened.

It all started in a quiet Pinedale neighborhood. That is where a Fresno police helicopter pilot tracked a man who was shining a green laser light into their cockpit. But the officers who were responding to that call never made it.

"There were two officers in the car and they went through the intersection, and a Toyota 4Runner was going westbound on Herndon and broadsided the police car," said Lt. Joe Gomez with the Fresno Police Department.

The accident reconstruction team is still trying to figure out what caused the accident, but police say the officers were not traveling with their lights and sirens on, and were not driving as if responding to a life-threatening situation.

"Cops nationwide, American cops, they are hurt more in accidents than by guns or knives; that's a known fact for many, many years," said Gomez.

Gomez also says accidents involving officers are pretty common and sometimes deadly.

"A motorcycle officer of ours in the '90s got killed at Blackstone and Clinton. He was going after a stolen car, and a car hit him, and he got killed," said Gomez.

It was another citizen who called 911 after witnessing the accident. Dispatchers sent help and sent other officers to Pinedale, who arrested Johnny Quenga for the crime of pointing a laser at an aircraft.

"He had that laser attached to an airsoft gun, looks just like a real assault rifle, and we got that gun too," said Gomez.

Police say the people who were in the SUV had minor injuries.

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