An alleged repeat drunken driver accused of crashing a vehicle into a police car that was stopped to investigate a prior crash — injuring a Cathedral City officer, a nurse and a prisoner seated in the back of the patrol unit — pleaded not guilty Tuesday to felony DUI charges.
Cruz Octavio Rodriguez, 25, is facing two counts of DUI causing injury stemming from the March 6 collision in the 33000 block of Cathedral Canyon Drive.
Court records show that at the time of the crash, Cruz Octavio Rodriguez was on probation for a previous DUI that occurred in Palm Springs last November. In that case, he pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor DUI counts.
Officers were investigating a previous accident on Cathedral Canyon Drive when Rodriguez’s vehicle slammed into a car involved in the original crash, as well as a Cathedral City Police Department car, at 11:52 p.m., according to Cmdr. Julio Luna.
A nurse helping officers at the scene suffered moderate injuries, while an officer suffered minor injuries, Luna said. A prisoner seated in the back of the police car also complained of pain.
Rodriguez was taken into custody at the scene by California Highway Patrol officers and was booked into the Riverside County jail in Indio in lieu of $50,000 bail.
He is slated to return to court May 10 for a felony settlement conference.