The recent case involving a deputy traffic unit sergeant who lost his left eye while on duty serves to remind us how hazardous police work can be, especially during close encounters with mentally imbalanced individuals.
Mark Bustamante, traffic unit sergeant working at the Pima County Police Department, lost his left eye when he was trying to apprehend a recalcitrant suspect.
Deputy Cody Gress, Pima County Police Department’s official spokesperson told the press the events leading to the officer’s mutilation. According to Gress’s statements, the deputy traffic unit sergeant was on patrol on Saturday evening.
Around midnight, the police officer and his colleague pulled over a suspect car, near the intersection of East Drexel Road and South Alvernon Way. The occupant, a 28-years old female by the name of Yesennia Gonzales, was driving under the influence of alcohol and/or other substances.
After Bustamante had talked with the woman about driving the car under the influence, he informed the suspect that she was under arrest and that she was going to be taken to the nearby police station for questioning and blood tests.
Gress declared that when Bustamante and his colleague handcuffed the woman, Gonzales became very aggressive, pushing the police officers. During her struggle with the two police officers, the woman managed to knock down Bustamante and continued kicking him with her high-heel boots.
Bustamante’s colleague declared that the woman was deliberately trying to gouge out the sergeant’s eye. The man called for reinforcements and for an ambulance, as Bustamante was critically injured.
Shortly a team of paramedics arrived at the scene and took the traffic unit sergeant to the local hospital for immediate surgery. Unfortunately, the surgeons operating on Bustamante said that the injuries he sustained during the conflict with Gonzales were too severe and his eye could not be saved.
Gonzales was later taken into custody and will now be charged with aggravated assault on law enforcement officer, DUI, and resisting arrest.
As for the traffic unit sergeant, the doctors declared that he would be free to resume duty once his wounds heal. However, Bustamante will have some hard times ahead of him. To help the injured police officer, the 100 Club from Arizona has organized a fund raise in his name.
Image source: Wikipedia