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U.S. Forest Service Officer released from hospital after being struck by vehicle

The U.S. Forest Service Officer struck by a vehicle on Highway 36 on Saturday has been released from the hospital.  

U.S. Forest Service officials say it was routine when a U.S. Forest Service Officer attempted to speak to the driver of a Jeep Liberty in the Mad River Ranger District on Highway 36 at about 9 p.m. on Saturday.

"We make contact with people all the time, whether they're in camp grounds or whether they're traveling on the highways, whether they're visiting in forest service offices, our officers are out there a lot," said Peggi Lawrence, the Public Affairs Specialist with Six Rivers National Forest.

However, situation was not routine for long.

"He was trying to talk with a person in a Jeep Liberty, and was outside of his vehicle, and the Jeep Liberty struck him, and at some point there were a couple of shots fired by the law enforcement officer, and the Jeep Liberty left the area," Lawrence said.

According to CHP officials, the suspect was heading westbound on Highway 36, until it reached mile marker 26.89, when it turned around and started heading east.  CHP officers then attempted to disable the vehicle by ramming it, but were unsuccessful.  They say near mile marker 28, the suspect got out of the vehicle and ran away into the brush.

The suspect has not been found, and the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department and U.S. Forest Service are leading the investigation to determine what state and federal charges will be filed against the suspect as well as the identification of the suspect.

"The Forest Service is concerned about employee and public safety, and we want to find out what actually happened to keep the public and our employees safe," said Lawrence.

The U.S. Forest Service Officer struck by the vehicle was released from a Redding hospital Sunday night.

If you have any information about the suspect, you should call the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department at (707) 445-7251 or their tip line at (707) 268-2539.