An Oceanside police officer shot a Vista man Friday after the officer was dragged by the victim's vehicle, police said.

Michael Joseph Ballard, 32, was stopped about 2 a.m. in a car he was driving on Mission Avenue near Clementine Street by Officer Carl Regalado, Oceanside police spokesman Bob George said.

When the officer discovered that the vehicle was stolen, Ballard tried to flee. After a struggle, Regalado, who was dragged several feet by the fleeing vehicle, shot Ballard once in the neck, George said. He gave no further details on how the officer got into a position to be dragged by the car.

Ballard was taken by helicopter to Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, where he was in serious but stable condition Friday afternoon, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Regalado, a three-year veteran, suffered minor injuries and was placed on administrative leave until an investigation of the shooting is complete, George said.

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