SUTTER COUNTY (CBS13) — A California Highway Patrol officer suffered life-threatening injuries Saturday after being struck by a suspected drunk driver while directing traffic on Highway 99 north of Yuba City, CHP Yuba-Sutter said.

The officer was directing traffic at the Lomo Crossing at approximately 1:18 a.m. due to railroad arms that were stuck in the down position.

(credit: CHP Yuba-Sutter)

CHP said the suspect, identified as 21-year-old Chico State student Lucas Julian Nelson, was driving a gray SUV at a high rate of speed, failing to stop for the railroad crossing sign and striking a 15-year CHP veteran.

The injured officer’s partner ran after Nelson, who attempted to get away, and arrested him. Nelson, a who was suspected of driving under the influence, was booked into the Sutter County Jail.

The officer was airlifted to UC Davis Medical Center where he is listed in critical but stable condition.

CBS13 learned this was not the first time Nelson has been in trouble.

Butte County records show that Nelson previously received a speeding ticket in July and was charged in 2017 with being a minor in possession of alcohol in public, although that case was dismissed.

Now, the Chico State student is facing multiple charges, including a DUI and resisting arrest.

(credit: Nelson Family)

CBS13 spoke with the suspect’s father after the arrest.

“He did call me this morning…told me what happened,” Duke Nelson said of his son. “He said he was totally freaked out. I guess he tried to walk away or something at first. So it’s just pretty shocking to us.”