Hit-and-run collision

A map shows the approximate location where an alleged drunk driver rear-ended an LAPD patrol car early Wednesday, injuring two officers. (Mapping L.A. / January 22, 2014)

Two Los Angeles police officers were hospitalized early Wednesday after an alleged drunk driver crashed into the back of their patrol car in South Los Angeles and then fled the scene.

The officers were on routine patrol when the incident occurred at about 12:40 a.m. on South Vermont Avenue near West 75th Street, said Sgt. Jeremy Duncan of LAPD's South Traffic Division.

The collision rendered the patrol car inoperable and the suspect "took off, fled the scene," Duncan said.

One officer suffered a contusion to the head and both officers complained of neck and back pain, Duncan said. They were conscious when taken to a local hospital and were expected to be released later in the day, Duncan said.

The 36-year-old suspect, identified by authorities as Nathaniel Strother, was caught about five minutes later a couple of blocks from LAPD's 77th Street Station.

Duncan said he was arrested on suspicion of felony driving under the influence, but there may be additional charges for the alleged hit-and-run collision as well.

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ari.bloomekatz@latimes.com