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Driver accused of wrong-way crash, punching 3 law enforcement officers in the face

A wrong-way driver who allegedly crashed into the car of an off-duty sheriff’s deputy — and then assaulted her and two other law enforcement officers who came to assist him — was arrested in downtown San Diego early Wednesday, police said.

The collision was reported around 5:25 a.m. on Fourth Avenue at the intersection with Ash Street.

Police said the man was driving north on Fourth Avenue — a one-way street — when he collided with a car heading west on Ash driven by a deputy heading to work. The man’s car overturned and the deputy got out of her car to go check on him as he crawled out of his vehicle.

When she got close, the man allegedly hit her in the face, police Lt. Christian Sharp told OnScene TV.

Some uniformed deputies ran to the crash site, and one of them was also hit by the suspect, Sharp said.

When an off-duty San Diego police detective going to work went over to help, he also was punched in the face by the suspect, Sharp said.

The officers and the driver were involved in a struggle, and the driver broke free and began to run east on Ash. When he saw several uniformed officers and patrol cars approaching, he promptly laid on the ground.

He was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of narcotics or alcohol and assaulting three peace officers, and was taken to a hospital to be evaluated, Sharp said.

None of the law enforcement officers were injured, he said.

“Obviously people are running up expecting to maybe provide assistance or help to somebody. Most people, including the deputies and the officer, don’t expect to be assaulted by an accident victim,” Sharp said.

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