Off-duty Modesto police officer in auto accident

A Modesto police officer is in serious but stable condition after driving his Jeep Wrangler off Scenic Drive and down an embankment early this morning, authorities said.

The officer was not on duty, according to Sgt. Rick Armendariz, spokesman for the Modesto Police Department.

Armendariz said “it appears alcohol may have been involved,” but that could not be confirmed until results of a blood test are determined. The officer was alone in the vehicle.

Emergency workers and officers were called at 12:40 a.m. to the 3000 block of Scenic — right where Lakewood Avenue runs into Scenic — after neighbors reported hearing a crash.

When officers arrived, they found the vehicle down an embankment that is at the south end of an empty lot that sits between two homes. Armendariz said the officer was travelling south on Lakewood and went straight across Scenic and eventually down the embankment.

The off-duty officer, whose name was not released because he was not arrested, was transported to a Modesto hospital.

Because of the extent of his injuries, a sobriety test could not be done. However, a blood test was taken at the hospital.

Armendariz said a complaint is being filed with the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s office. He said this is done instead of an arrest so the city does not have to cover the cost of medical treatment.

He said the DA’s office will weigh evidence, including the results of the blood test, and decide on what charges or citations, if any, to file.

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