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2 Officers in Wrong Lane Injured in Patrol Car Crash

Two Los Angeles police officers and a motorist were injured Friday when a patrol car driving on the wrong side of a North Hollywood street was struck by another car and crashed into a traffic signal pole and control box, authorities said.

Officers Nancy Reeves, 36, and Greg Ballesteros, 23, were flown to Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills after the 12:10 a.m. accident at Lankershim Boulevard and Oxnard Street. Reeves had several broken bones and was in stable condition at the hospital. Ballesteros, a rookie officer who was driving the patrol car, was treated for cuts and bruises and released.

The driver of the other car, Alberto Pulido, 31, of Arleta, was taken by ambulance to North Hollywood Medical Center, where he was treated and released for a slight back injury, police said.

At the time of the accident, the officers were answering a request for backup from vice officers, police said. The patrol car, which was heading north on Lankershim, moved into the open southbound lanes to pass Pulido’s car, which was also heading north, police said.

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As the two cars approached the Oxnard Street intersection, Pulido turned left and his car struck the side of the patrol car, police said. The impact pushed the patrol car into a traffic signal pole and control box.

Police said the patrol car had been driving without a siren or emergency lights while responding to the backup call. Detective Anthony Bartolotto of the accident investigation unit said that was a routine procedure. He added that the police car was not speeding, but that the officers may have been wrong to move into the opposite traffic lane to pass another car.

“They may have made a mistake in judgment,” Bartolotto said.

No one was cited in the accident pending completion of the investigation, Bartolotto said.

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