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Suspect in DUI Crash That Injured Police Officer Pleads Not Guilty

A 21-year-old Orange County man is accused of driving drunk and crashing into a San Diego police car in Santee.

A 21-year-old Orange County man accused of driving drunk and crashing into a San Diego police car, seriously injuring a rookie officer, pleaded not guilty Monday to felony DUI charges.

Samuel Sullivan, free on $100,000 bail, appeared for his arraignment in a wheelchair with a bandage on a foot. Several friends and family members of the injured officer attended the brief hearing.

Deputy District James Romo said Sullivan exited northbound state Route 125 in his Toyota truck about 2:30 a.m. on Dec. 30 and ran a red light at Mission Gorge Road in Santee, broadsiding a patrol car driven by 24-year-old SDPD Officer Travis Betley.

"He (the defendant) was going very fast," the prosecutor said outside court.

Betley was trapped in his vehicle for almost an hour before being freed from the wreckage. The officer -- who has been on the force 14 months -- has undergone multiple surgeries for broken bones and internal injuries and faces a long recovery, officials said.

According to Romo, the defendant -- a resident of Lake Forest -- was in San Diego for a friend's birthday party and admitted drinking before the accident.

Sullivan's blood-alcohol level was measured at 0.22 percent after the crash, nearly three times the legal limit of 0.08 percent for driving, Romo said.

Defense attorney Jeremiah Sullivan, no relation to the defendant, spoke briefly to reporters, calling the incident an "unfortunate" accident.

"We wish the officer a speedy recovery," the attorney said.

The defendant was charged with DUI causing injury and DUI with a blood- alcohol level of .08 percent or higher. The charges include a great bodily injury allegation and an allegation that Sullivan's blood-alcohol level was .15 percent or higher at the time of the crash, Romo said.

Sullivan faces six years in state prison if convicted, according to the prosecutor.

Judge Charles Ervin scheduled a readiness conference for Feb. 20 and a preliminary hearing for Feb. 27.

-City News Service

Kathy January 08, 2013 at 05:58 AM
Six years is just NOT enough and he probably won't even get that. When are we going to have the Punishment fit the crime. This poor Officer will probably never be able to do Patrol again and maybe, not even Desk Duty. Why is it that the DUI Drivers never get hurt in the accident, it's only the Victims that do?
Beau McRoberts January 10, 2013 at 01:39 AM
I know Sam Sullivan...I graduated highschool with him in 2010...he's a great guy who just made a horrible decision, never been in trouble for anything...his life is ruined whether or not he does 6 years or 15
Green Eyes January 13, 2013 at 04:58 PM
Correct on the statement "his life is ruined whether or not he does 6-15", BUT as for the officer,who was on duty @ his job,DID NOT ask for this,tho Sam Sullivan who was drunk & decided to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence,did ask for TROUBLE & this end result to his decision is that he Seriously Injured & Could have killed someone ,That WAS HIS CHOICE, never been in trouble or not,it's a VERY STUPID DECISION & ACT TO DRIVE INTOXICATED!! Fu*k call a cab ,it's that easy. I hope his life will change for the better and Alcohol will never be a part if his future. And for the officer who was on duty hit by an immature (putting it nicely) young man recovers well enough to go back to the field and arrest asshol*s who choose to drive intoxicated & we pray for a total recovery & As for Sam ,Keep his ass there for awhile & give him treatment for his alcohol & obvious underlying problems that made him get to that point in the first place...Good kid or not ,it's not rocket science that it is ILLEGAL TO DRINK & DRIVE,& he pled not guilty, Clearly he is at fault & I hope they throw the book at his ass!!!

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