CLEAR LAKE, IA – A Clear Lake police officer is in the hospital this morning, after his squad car was rear-ended by a drunk driver.
The Clear Lake Police Department reports Lt. Paul Chizek was driving east on Highway 18, near 20th Street, when Steven Orta, 21, hit him from behind. It happened at 2:11 a.m.
Chizek was able to radio for help from other officers after the crash. He was taken to Mercy Medical Center Emergency Room, and is being treated for injuries to his head.
Steven Orta was arrested for not having a license or insurance, following too close, and Operating While Intoxicated.
His brother, Ryan Orta, 29, was a passenger in the vehicle. Ryan Orta took off running after the crash, but was apprehended by another Clear Lake officer a short distance away. Ryan Orta was arrested for Public Intoxication. The truck is registered in Ryan Orta’s name.
Both men are being held in the Cerro Gordo County Jail.
The Cerro Gordo County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the crash. We’ll have more information on Lt. Chizek’s condition when it becomes available.