SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – An Elk Grove Police officer has died after being hit head-on by a vehicle on Hwy. 99 Friday, and now investigators believe that alcohol may have played a factor in the crash.
Around 5:13 a.m. Friday, CHP dispatch received the call of a wrong-way driver traveling northbound in the southbound lanes of Hwy. 99 near 47th Ave. While CHP units were headed to the area, a 911 caller said the driver was involved in a crash with a police motorcycle officer near 12th Avenue, according to a statement from CHP – South Sacramento.READ MORE: Getting Answers: How Do You Talk To Kids About Tragedies Like The Texas School Shooting?
Officers at the scene of the crash performed life-saving measures on the officer until Sacramento Fire Department arrived on the scene and transported the officer to UC Davis Medical Center.
The driver of the car, Jermaine J. Walton, 31, of Sacramento was the driver of the 2016 Dodge Charger that hit the officer. The CHP says he was reportedly stopped while “walking away from the scene.”
He allegedly showed signs of intoxication and was subsequently arrested on suspicion of being under the influence of an alcoholic beverage at the time of the crash. Walton was later booked into the Sacramento County Main Jail on charges of murder, causing a crash resulting in injury, driving the wrong way on the freeway, and driving under the influence and causing injury — all felonies.
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The officer, who has since been identified as Tyler “Ty” Lenehan, was transported to a local hospital where he was later pronounced dead.
Elk Grove Police Chief Timothy Albright said in a news conference Friday afternoon that Lenehan was a husband and father of two children. Lenehan was a six-year veteran of the force and was heading to work on his department motorcycle while in uniform when he was hit. Additionally, the chief said this was the department’s first death of an officer in the line of duty.
Chief Albright said Lenehan realized in 2020 that it was his dream to become a motor officer.
Highway 99 was closed for several hours as emergency responders investigated the crash.
Elk Grove Mayor Bobby Singh-Allen issued a statement that reads:
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“Our community is in mourning. We lost an officer in a Wrong-Way crash on their way to work earlier today on Highway 99. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and our police department.”
This isn’t the first time Walton was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. He was arrested in 2017 and later pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges of driving with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08% or higher. He served 18 days in jail and was on probation for three years.