OFF THE WIRE
Man suspected of running over officer sought
By DENISSE SALAZAR and SALVADOR HERNANDEZ / THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
GARDEN GROVE – Police are searching for a driver who ran over the legs of a motorcycle officer after he was stopped for not wearing his seat belt. The driver was identified by officials as Marcos Gonzalez, a 28-year-old described as being 5 feet, 8 inches tall and 220 pounds. The information was obtained from the ticket that was being prepared by the injured officer, police said.
Marcos Gonzalez. COURTESY OF THE GARDEN GROVE POLICE DEPARTMENT MORE PHOTOS »ADVERTISEMENT Officers have been looking for Gonzalez since the incident occurred at about 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, when the motorcycle officer pulled over the green Infiniti with no plates near 13321 Brookhurst Ave. Garden Grove police Lt. Jeff Nightengale said officers checked a residence in Orange County and one in the Inland Empire but did not find Gonzalez. Authorities said they did not know what caused Gonzalez to flee. Investigators have searched his record and have not found any warrants or obvious reasons why he would have fled, Nightengale said, adding that the Infiniti he was driving was not believed to be stolen. The 35-year-old officer, a 10-year veteran of the Garden Grove Police Department suffered moderate injuries and remained hospitalized as of 10 p.m. Wednesday, Nightengale said. The incident began when the motorcycle officer pulled over Gonzalez and noticed he was not wearing a seat belt. The officer was writing a ticket when he observed Gonzalez acting strangely, Nightengale said. "The guy starts acting nervous, so (the officer) asked him to step out of the car," he said. The driver's behavior led the officer to believe something else might be wrong, and the officer patted down the driver after he got out of the car, Nightengale said. While the car was stopped in the parking lot of a shopping center, the officer radioed for backup when the driver ran back toward the car's open door and got into the vehicle. "They start struggling at the door," Nightengale said. As the two men struggled at the driver's side of the car, the driver was able to put the car in reverse, Nightengale said. With the door open, the car knocked down the officer as he tried to get the driver to stop. "Then he put the car in drive and drives over the officer's legs," Nightengale said. Anyone with information was asked to call police at 714-741-5704.