BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Bakersfield police have confirmed that the man arrested in connection with a crash that critically injured a young woman was a former Bakersfield Police Department officer.
At about 12:45 p.m. Monday, 31-year-old Kristopher Carter was traveling westbound on Merle Haggard Drive at a high rate of speed, according to Officer Roberto Rodriguez with the California Highway Patrol.
Sgt. Joseph Grubbs with the BPD said that Carter was a former BPD officer.
Carter started with the BPD on July 10, 2006 and retired on March 1, 2012 due to a disability.
Rodriguez said that Carter drove onto the center median west of Wings Way and struck a row of bushes.
Carter then fled the scene and continued westbound on Merle Haggard even though his left front tire had gone flat, Rodriguez said.
While driving at a high rate of speed, on a flat tire, Carter failed to stop at a red light at the intersection of Pegasus Drive, according to Rodriguez.
Carter continued westbound and ran a second red light at SR-65, Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez said Carter then turned his vehicle to the right, jumped the curb and drove into the Shell Gas Station parking lot located on the northwest corner of SR-65.
Twenty-year-old Leann Katherine Harris was standing outside of her vehicle pumping gas at the Shell Station.
Carter knocked down the first set of protective barrier poles and gas dispenser and as he continued, he struck Harris' vehicle pushing the vehicle into her, Rodriguez said.
The force of the impact launched Harris and a second gas dispenser several feet.
Harris was taken to Kern Medical Center and her family told 23ABC that it’s likely LeAnn will never walk again.
In addition to a broken arm and ruptured spleen, she also suffered a serious back injury. Harris' family says doctors have told them she is a paraplegic now.
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