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Driver Hits Fall River Motorcycle Officer Escorting Vet’s Funeral Procession

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The damaged motorcycle of Fall River Police Officer Jose Barboza is removed from the crash scene on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013. (Credit: WBZ-TV)

The damaged motorcycle of Fall River Police Officer Jose Barboza is removed from the crash scene on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013. (Credit: WBZ-TV)

FALL RIVER (CBS) — A city motorcycle officer suffered several minor injuries when he was struck by an unlicensed driver while escorting a veteran’s funeral procession Saturday, the police said in a prepared statement.

Fall River Police Officer Jose Barboza was struck after a motorist illegally entered into the funeral procession, swerved out of the procession, then hit the motorcycle officer, who was riding along the procession as an escort.

Barboza was thrown through the windshield of his motorcycle, onto the hood of the “scofflaw motorist,” then slammed to the roadway, the police said.

Fall River Police, the Fall River Fire Department and EMS responded to the scene and administered first aid to Barboza, who was taken to Saint Anne’s Hospital in Fall River, where he was treated for bumps, bruises, and facial and body injuries, including a broken nose. He was subsequently released.

The driver, his passenger and a relative of the passenger we’re all arrested at the crash scene, the police said.

The driver, Jose Figueroa-Cruz, 44, of Dwelly Street in Fall River, was charged with negligent operation of a motor vehicle, unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, and outstanding warrants for past motor vehicle violations.

The passenger in the vehicle, Carmen Vazquez, 36, of Mulberry Street in Fall River, was charged with misleading the police after she allegedly told officers that she was driving but witnesses observed Figueroa-Cruz was driving.

Vazquez’s mother, Wanda Martinez, 60, of Mulberry Street in Fall River, was charged with interfering with a police officer and resisting arrest for allegedly interfering with officers investigating the crash and pulling away from officers when she was placed under arrest.

“I am pleased Officer Barboza is on the mend and not seriously injured. He is a credit to the FRPD and the Motorcycle Squad,” Fall River Police Chief Daniel Racine said. “He is a tough street cop, and he needed every once of that toughness to walk away from this crash. This is the second motor officer hit by errant drivers in the last several months, as well as the recent tragic death of an FRPD Signal Division electrician. Today gives us pause and reminds us just how dangerous the public safety profession is; I am relieved that my officers survived these accidents. Nevertheless, motorists needs to slow down, pay attention, and, most of all, obey the law. ”

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