Wednesday, 01 August 2007 01:52

CHP Officer Killed on Highway 50

slide25The California Highway Patrol today mourns the loss of Officer Douglas Scott Russell, a 46 year old officer assigned to the Placerville Office. Russell was intentionally run down yesterday by a 38 year old Sacramento man that was leading Rancho Cordova Police on a high speed chase east bound on Hwy 50. 

David Charles Zanon, 38 years of age, first tried to ram a Rancho Cordova police department car, then swerved and another officer laying spike strips across the roadway before hitting and killing Russell just after Russell had completed laying a spike strip across Hwy 50’s east bound lanes near Shingle Springs. "We are treating this as a homicide," said Jasper Begay, a CHP spokesman. The chase began when employees at a Rancho Cordova business noticed an apparently unconscious man in a car parked outside their offices at 9975 Horn Road and called police. When authorities came to check on the man, he immediately fled in his four-door Eagle, said Sacramento County sheriff's Sgt. Tim Curran. "As soon as he opened his eyes, he threw it into gear," Curran said. As Rancho Cordova police pursued Zanon he tried to ram a Rancho Cordova police officer's car but missed, Curran said.

 slide28 The pursuit moved to Highway 50 as Zanon led officers past Gold River and Folsom, sometimes at speeds of 100 miles per hour, Curran said. At the intersection of El Dorado Hills Boulevard, an officer attempted to lay out spikes to stop Zanon, according to CHP Officer Begay said. Zanon swerved and tried to hit the officer, who was unable to deploy the spikes. By the time Zanon got close to the Ponderosa Road intersection, the pursuit included two CHP units and two helicopters -- one from the CHP and one from the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department. Officer Russell was waiting for Zanon with the spike strip  that he had laid out on the highway. But Zanon "intentionally aimed his vehicle right at the officer," Begay said. Begay said CHP procedure is to keep the spike strip on the road for as short a time as possible -- laying it out just before a suspect arrives and pulling it back after he passes. Zanon had to swerve off the roadway to hit Russell, who had just finished deploying the strip. The CHP helicopter flying overhead witnessed the event and immediately landed on the side of the road. Within two minutes officers had pulled Russell inside the chopper and headed to UC Davis Medical Center where he was pronounced dead. Zanon continued driving until Mother Lode Drive where Officers finally knocked him off the highway. Zanon was taken to Sutter Roseville Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries. He appeared to have been living out of his car, Curran said. Zanon has a long list of criminal activity in Sacramento County, including multiple arrests on theft and drug charges. At the time of the chase, he had an active warrant out for resisting arrest, Curran said. Officer Russell is survived by his wife and CHP family.