Police officer hospitalized after hit by alleged DUI driver in Fresno County

A police officer was hospitalized after being hit by an alleged DUI driver on Sunday night, said Firebaugh Police Chief Salvador Raygoza.

Firebaugh Police Officer Rodolfo Tabares was struck from behind while driving home on his police motorcycle around 8:30 p.m. and was thrown from his bike at Highway 33 and Douglas Street in Firebaugh, northwest of Fresno.

Tabares is expected to be in the hospital for a few days. He sustained a lot of road rash and scrapes but no broken bones, and is conscious, Raygoza said. The suspect rear-ended Tabares at high rate of speed, about 55 to 60 mph, and was arrested, Raygoza said.

The suspect was identified by the California Highway Patrol as Jose Gutierrez, 27, of Mendota. He was arrested on suspicion of DUI, the CHP reported.

Later that night in Firebaugh, a solo vehicle accident around 2 a.m. Monday killed Jonathan Gonzalez, 21, of Madera after his Chevy pickup truck struck a guardrail and spun out across a bridge over the San Joaquin River near 13th and P streets, Raygoza said.

Alcohol is suspected to have been involved in the crash, Raygoza said. The department is awaiting coroner results. An investigation is ongoing.

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Carmen George is a features and news reporter for The Fresno Bee. Her stories have been recognized with Best of the West, George F. Gruner, and McClatchy President’s awards, and nine first or second place awards from the California News Publishers Association. She has a passion for sharing people’s stories to highlight issues and promote greater understanding.