Off-duty UC cop killed in high-speed crash

October 23, 2009 11:53:44 AM PDT
The California Highway Patrol is investigating an accident that killed an off-duty UCSF police officer and seriously injured a dispatcher.

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The crash happened early Friday morning around 12:15, on the southbound Interstate 280 off ramp to John Daly Boulevard. The CHP says they weren't wearing seatbelts.

At last update -- the UCSF police dispatcher is still in critical condition at San Francisco General Hospital.

Earlier this morning, there were some UC police cars visiting at the hospital. While colleagues, family, and friends are grieving the loss of the university police officer, they're also praying for the dispatcher to pull through.

The UCSF police officer and campus police dispatcher were both off-duty during the solo crash. Officer Edson Veloro, 32, died at the scene and dispatcher Art Dragon, 39, was taken to the hospital with serious injuries.

Witnesses tell the CHP the car was speeding up to 100 miles-per-hour before the accident. Investigators believe Officer Veloro was the one driving his white Dodge Magnum when it swerved on southbound 280 at the John Daly Boulevard exit. The car went airborne, hit some trees, landed on a parked car, and then rolled off onto the street below, on Ocean View Terrace. Both men were thrown from the car and the CHP says had they been wearing seat belts, there could have been a much different ending.

"Unfortunately both occupants were ejected and I can definitely say that the one, the fatality here, he hit the concrete and sustained massive head injuries. Would he have been living if he was inside the car? I can just say that his chances would have been a whole lot better," said CHP Sgt. Ken Roberts.

The university says Edson Veloro worked for the San Francisco sheriff's office before joining the UCSF police in 2002. He served as both a patrol officer and detective and was honored as police department employee of the year for outstanding service in 2008.

Dispatcher Art Dragon, who joined the UC police department two years ago, remains in critical condition. The CHP says it's still unclear why the driver lost control. There were no immediate signs that alcohol or drugs were factors in the crash, ultimately, toxicology tests will determine that question in the end.

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