Family speaks after crash with officer
UPDATE: The investigation determined the officer was not at fault in this crash, according to Bakersfield Police Department Sgt. Ryan Kroeker. He said investigators determined the other driver, Marlayna Hunter, was at fault.
The original story is below.
----BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) - The family of four involved in a crash with a Bakersfield police officer is recovering and speaking about what happened that night.
They say it was a head-on crash with a car they saw come out of nowhere, speeding down the city street at freeway speeds.
At first, they had no idea it was a Bakersfield Police Department officer, because the lights and sirens weren't on.
The patrol car was in ruins, and debris was all over the road. At one point, Officer Adrian McCullum was pinned inside.
"I was scared," said Leakhena Phy, who was sitting in the passenger seat. "I was in shock."
Maryann Hill, whose husband owns the car, thinks McCullum's vehicle was going about 75 mph.
"He hit us. He tipped our car. He had no sirens on. He was speeding," she said. "We would have just been pulled over to the right side waiting for him to pass."
The next day, Hill was in the hospital with internal bruising.
The driver of the car, 20-year-old Marlayna Hunter, also went in with a head injury.
"I went to sleep, but the next day woke up in pain," said Hill. "Back pain, and shoulder pain, and everything."
BPD described the injuries as minor.
As bad as the patrol car looked, the officer was released from the hospital with "minor to moderate" injuries.
"We were terrified," said Hill. "We were worried about how he was doing."
The family said they were just trying to turn left onto Wilson Road, yielding to oncoming traffic when the patrol car swerved into them. Ever since, they have felt like the police are trying to put the blame on them.
BPD said it's an ongoing investigation.
"It makes you not want to drive anymore," said Hill. "I don't think he should be fired. He just needs to be more careful. He needs to do his job."
Hill's husband, Ronnie Hill, wasn't in the car. Still, he's terrified that it could have been so much worse.
"(McCullum's) negligence almost could have cost four lives," he said. "And almost his own. He could have killed five people."
BPD Detective Louis Wood said these cases typically take just a few days to finish investigating. He couldn't comment about the specifics of the case, but said that officers don't have to follow vehicle code.
However, he also added that officers do have the responsibility to respect the safety of the public.