May 19–A Shasta County sheriff’s deputy was injured Friday when his patrol car went off Highway 273, slammed into a power pole and flipped over several times.
Authorities have identified a Shasta County sheriff’s deputy who remains in intensive care a week after he overturned his patrol cruiser on Highway 273.
Ryan Kacalek, 39, has recovered some since the early morning wreck threw him from his patrol car and he suffered internal injuries and a concussion, said Eric Magrini, the undersheriff in Shasta County.
“He’s made significant improvements,” Magrini said, adding medical staff have said they’re hoping to move him out of the ICU soon, though he’d remain in the hospital.
Kacalek, a former Sacramento County sheriff’s deputy who has more than a decade of experience in law enforcement, had been with the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office for about a year when the crash happened, Magrini said.
According to the initial investigation, Kacalek was heading southbound on S. Bonnyview Road after receiving reports of a woman possibly being attacked at about 5:30 a.m. when he rolled his cruiser for unknown reasons.
The crash ejected him and totaled the cruiser, Magrini said. Deputies collected his firearms so the range master can inspect them for damage, Magrini said.
“There was a patrol shotgun, a patrol rifle and a duty weapon,” Magrini said. “All those were accounted for and recovered.”
Kacalek was near his end of shift and thus didn’t have any collected evidence stored in the vehicle, Magrini said.
The California Highway Patrol has taken over the investigation but has not finished its report, said Jason Morton, public information officer with the Redding area office.
He said the investigation is continuing, including the work by the CHP-led Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team. That team will test the vehicle’s systems and download data from the computer, said Sgt. Christopher Dalin.
Most of the damage appears structural, but the tests will examine whether an airbag deployed or brakes were functioning.
Kacalek’s cruiser had about 90,000 miles on it and they usually cost somewhere around $30,000, Magrini said.
But Dalin’s office is currently flooded with work — they’ve received 17 vehicles for testing this year, about five fewer than all of last year. He’s also awaiting some personnel to finish training.
The department has been flooded with well-wishers, Magrini said.
“The community has been absolutely fantastic,” he said. A Facebook page has been set up for updates on Kacalek as well.
“Many of you have reached out and asked how you can help our family. Honestly, prayers are what Ryan needs most,” read the most recent update on his condition, dated Monday.
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By Joe Szydlowski, Redding Record Searchlight, Calif.
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