Police officer, firefighter narrowly escape injury after driver tries to flee | TheUnion.com

Police officer, firefighter narrowly escape injury after driver tries to flee

A Grass Valley man was arrested Tuesday night after he reportedly tried to evade law enforcement, narrowly missing striking a Grass Valley Police officer and a firefighter.

The incident began at about 8:45 p.m., after a driver struck a utility pole on Hidden Valley Road, just west of Auburn Road, said California Highway Patrol Officer Marc Morrison. The collision sheared off the pole, brought power lines down across Auburn Road, disrupted power in the area and sparked a small grass fire.

The Grass Valley Fire Department responded to the incident, along with units from the CHP, Grass Valley Police, and Nevada County Sheriff’s Office. While a CHP officer and a police sergeant were directing traffic to turn around just north of where fire personnel were attending to the fire, a man identified as Justin Michael Greco approached the scene in his vehicle.

“Upon seeing the CHP officer, Greco immediately put his vehicle in reverse and accelerated rearward, striking the front end of a sheriff vehicle that had come up behind him,” Morrison wrote in his arrest report. “Greco then sped forward past the CHP officer and veered towards the police sergeant, who had to jump out of the way to avoid being struck.”

Greco reported;y then continued driving south on Auburn Road and tried to go around the fire truck on the right dirt shoulder, struck the right side of the fire truck and lost control.

“Greco’s vehicle nearly struck a firefighter before coming to rest,” Morrison wrote, adding that Greco then fled on foot into an adjacent grass field. The firefighter who was nearly struck tried to restrain Greco, but he reportedly broke free and escaped into the darkness of the field.

Additional law enforcement units arrived on scene and used a thermal imaging device to locate Greco hiding in the field. He was apprehended without further incident and placed under arrest, Morrison said. Auburn Road remained closed for several hours while PG&E removed and repaired the downed pole and wires.

A search of Greco’s vehicle uncovered a switchblade and “several large rocks” of methamphetamine, Morrison said.

Greco, 33, was transported to the Nevada County Jail where he was booked on suspicion of driving while under the influence of drugs and being under the influence of a controlled substance, resisting arrest, assault against a peace officer, and possession of methamphetamine. He was being held in lieu of $22,000 bail.

The initial collision into the utility pole and this incident remains under investigation.

To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, email lkellar@theunion.com or call 530-477-4229.

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