Two suspects involved in a hit-and-run collision with an Omaha Police cruiser were injured when they fled that initial crash scene, then slammed into a pole and another vehicle a few blocks away.
The hit-and-run collision happened near 42nd and Sprague at 3:40 Friday morning.
Officer Phillip Hodges was on a call there, seated in his cruiser, when a northbound SUV hit the cruiser from behind. The driver of the SUV turned and fled.
Hodges put out the information about the crash and a description of the suspect vehicle.
Officers John Gruidel and Dawn Orent were assigned to a two-officer cruiser and noticed the suspect vehicle near 41st and Pratt Streets traveling eastbound. The officers attempted to stop the suspect vehicle with emergency lights and siren activated.
The suspect refused to stop and fled eastbound on Pratt Street. Officers Gruidel and Orent pursued.
The suspect lost control of his vehicle in the area of 33rd & Pratt Streets and went airborne. Police say the suspect vehicle careened out of control, left the roadway and collided with a metal light pole then continued east, across J. A. Creighton Blvd where it collided with a northbound Cadillac. The suspect vehicle continued eastbound on Pratt Street and rolled.
The unrestrained driver, identified as 20-year old Leonardo Saavedra, was ejected from the vehicle. Saavedra suffered severe injuries in the crash and was transported to Alegent Creighton Health and is listed in critical condition.
A passenger in the suspect vehicle, identified as 31-year old Luis Lara-Martinez, was also transported to Alegent Creighton Health. Lara-Martinez was treated and released. The occupants of the Cadillac did not complain of injuries.
Police suspect Saavedra had been drinking.
The accident and police vehicle pursuit resulting in life threatening injuries is being investigated by the Omaha Police Traffic Accident Investigations Sqaud and the Officer-Involved Investigations Squad.
Criminal charges for Saavedra are pending.
Omaha Police Department policy states: if, as a result of actions by a police officer, any person has received a life-threatening bodily injury the officer is placed on paid administrative leave pending the officer-involved investigation and the Internal Affairs investigation.
In accordance with that policy, the two officers involved in this incident were placed on paid administrative leave.
Officer Hodges, who was in the cruisier hit by the suspect vehicle, was treated for minor injuries