A Scotts Valley Police Department officer was uninjured after being rear-ended Monday as rainy weather continued. (Scotts Valley Police Department)

With rain descending on Santa Cruz County in earnest over the past week, first responders have had their hands full.

On Sunday, just after 8:15pm, a California Highway Patrol officer was rear-ended while responding to a rollover on southbound Highway 17 near La Madrona Drive.

“As a result, the officer and the occupants of the other vehicle were transported to a nearby hospital for injuries sustained,” a spokesperson for CHP’s Santa Cruz station wrote on Facebook. “This serves as a reminder to all drivers to exercise caution and slow down, especially during inclement weather and wet roadways.”

KION News reported the three people in the Jeep Grand Cherokee that struck the police cruiser were taken to Dominican Hospital, with a 25-year-old female driver and a 30-year-old male passenger, both from Santa Cruz, suffering minor injuries.

A 58-year-old female passenger from Cambria was seriously hurt in the crash and the officer was taken to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center with moderate injuries, the TV station reported.

“The safety of everyone on the road is our top priority, and we urge you to drive responsibly and attentively at all times,” the CHP Santa Cruz spokesperson said in the post about the incident. “Let’s work together to ensure the safety of all those on the road.”

A CHP officer was taken to a hospital after the vehicle he was driving was rear-ended while responding to a rollover on Highway 17 on Sunday. (California Highway Patrol)

On Monday morning, Facebook user Sheri Anderson was wondering about how the cop was doing: “May we have an update on the officer?” she asked.

“He is currently recovering and getting some much-needed rest,” the CHP rep replied. “Thank you for your concern.”

Dia Clancy chimed in with a personal story about being rear-ended eight years ago and receiving whiplash and a concussion, and suggested a Santa Cruz-based chiropractic neurologist that might be able to assist the CHP officer, if necessary.

“Wishing him a full recovery,” Clancy added.

Scotts Valley Police Department was well aware of that officer getting hit not far from their own station.

“Unfortunately, the situation repeated itself today when one of our officers responded to a crash, at almost the exact same location, and was also rear-ended by a driver going too fast,” the agency posted to its Facebook page Monday. “Luckily, our officer walked away from the scene unhurt.”

To this, Facebook user Brandon Porter-Repperd suggested police increase enforcement of speeding and tailgating during bad weather events.

Kimberly Anne Brosseau Beardsley agreed, writing, “I’ve been tailgated many times on 17 coming home lately and it’s very scary, I wish they had more funding for more CHP to be out on the roads to enforce this.”

On Tuesday, just before 8am, CHP announced on Twitter that Felton Empire Road was closed from Empire Grade for a 1.5-mile stretch to the north.

Then at 8:26am, the agency’s San Jose station said it was responding to an overturned vehicle on Highway 17, just south of Idylwild Road.

“Expect delays and please be patient,” a spokesperson from the Santa Cruz office tweeted in reply.

And the official brought up another transportation snarl, a couple minutes later.

“San Jose Rd is currently closed due to communication lines blocking the entire roadway,” the spokesperson said. “Please plan alternate routes accordingly.”

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Drew Penner is an award-winning Canadian journalist whose reporting has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Good Times Santa Cruz, Los Angeles Times, Scotts Valley Press Banner, San Diego Union-Tribune, KCRW and the Vancouver Sun. Please send your Los Gatos and Santa Cruz County news tips to [email protected].


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