Odessa Officer Accidentally Run Over by Deputy During High Speed - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Odessa Officer Accidentally Run Over by Deputy During High Speed Car Chase

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Officer Danny Rocha, Jr. Officer Danny Rocha, Jr.

Anum Valliani
NewsWest 9

ODESSA - They say it all started with street racing, something residents on 8th Street and Overton are used to. 

But a high speed car chase ending there on Saturday night proved dangerous for one officer and it wasn't because of the racers. Officer Donny Rocha Jr. was struck by a deputy's truck. One witness described what he saw leading up to that moment.

"They had been chasing him from 42nd Street. They had been racing and I guess he was trying to get away. [The police] had put spikes right down the street and they popped his tire," he said. The man did not want to disclose the driver's name.

After the tire popped, the suspects who were driving a red Mustang, tried to continue avoiding the cops posted at the street light ahead but lost control and swerved onto the neighborhood street, where they were eventually tapped by a cop car and came to a rest partially atop the lawn.
 
"The passenger guy, he got out, put his hands up and he stood there for a while. I guess waiting for the cops to arrest him," he recalled.  

He said they later found the passenger two blocks away. But at the time, the driver got out and ran towards the back of the alley.

"As soon as I opened the door, two police officers had a man right between those two pots, laying down, cuffing him up," another witness, Ralph Mechaca, said. 

Then the night took a dreadful turn, because when they looked over to the street, they saw an officer lying on the ground. All witnesses saw was the officer's belt and then fellow cops surrounding the scene.

"I felt bad for him. I mean an officer? Come on. I know they have a dangerous job but I don't know who hit him or what happened," he said. 

According to Donny Rocha Sr., his son had been out on another call when he came to help out with the chase.

"He figured the pursuit was over when the suspects jumped out of the car and started running. They were running towards him and he jumped out and started full pursuit," Rocha said.

The deputy had been trying to do the same thing. Much of the neighborhood had come out by then to see what had happened.

"Everyone was concerned. But no one knew how bad it was," Mechaca said. 

"On the left side of his skull, he got a minor fracture and he got his head cut open with I don't know how many staples but it looks real jagged, like it got ripped open," Rocha said.

On top of that, he had a lot of road burn on his left side and a broken thumb. Rocha's father said the community has been reaching out and showing support to him especially via Facebook and that both deputies and officers have been visiting Rocha in the hospital.

"It was just an accident that happened. He didn't see the sheriff's [deputy's truck] the sheriff's deputy didn't see him." Rocha said.

The 23 year-old has only been active for a year and every time he wears his uniform, his father said it makes him "swell with pride." 

"Every day when he goes to work, you know 'Take care of yourself,' but that's going to be a totally different meaning from now on. It can all change in the blink of an eye," he said. 

Officer Rocha is doing a lot better now. His father said that he's been able to remember what had happened and is just thankful that he'll be able to return to work and his family soon.  
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