Suspected DUII driver rear-ends patrol car, injuring Washington County deputy

Marco Rosario-Palma, 25, is accused of drunk driving and smashing into a deputy's patrol car (Photos from the Washington County Sheriff's Office).

A suspected drunk driver crashed into a patrol car early Saturday morning, injuring a Washington County Sheriff's Deputy.

The man fled the scene but was later captured by a Hillsboro Police K-9.

The deputy had just finished a traffic stop around 2:30 a.m., and was pulled over on the shoulder of westbound Sunset Highway near 185th Ave. when someone rear-ended his car.

“It's a good thing he was in his car. It could've been a lot worse if he was still contacting that person on the traffic stop,” said Washington County Sheriff’s Deputy Chief Shannon Wilde.

Deputies say the driver, 25-year-old Marco Rosario-Palma, was going at least 55 mph at the time of the crash. He fled the scene of the the crash on foot.

Although the deputy in the patrol car was injured, he was able to call for help via radio.

“We located the suspect about a 30 minute K9 track hiding in some bushes on the freeway,” said Deputy Chief Wilde.

Rosario-Palma was booked into the Washington County Jail on DUII, felony hit and run, assault in the fourth degree, attempting to elude a police officer, and criminal mischief in the second degree.

Deputies said Rosario-Palma wasn't the only impaired driver on the road this St. Patrick's Day weekend.

“It continues to be a problem in the area and the state. Although we've been stepping up enforcement, it continues to be an issue,” said Deputy Chief Wilde.

It's not just drunk drivers -- traffic stops are some of the most dangerous calls deputies face every single day.

“There's nothing scarier than being in a traffic stop and you're taking up room in the road and a car gets within a few feet of hitting you.”

While these deputies have to constantly look over their shoulders, it’s not always enough.

“You don't know what we're dealing it on the side of the road and we don't know either, so we could all of a sudden could be in a fight for a life in that lane and that's why we need space.”

Six DUII drivers were arrested Friday night in Washington County alone. Deputy Chief Wilde says they will be releasing the name of the deputy who was injured later this week.

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