Woman is charged with DUI in a crash that seriously injured an O.C. officer


A 27-year-old woman was charged Tuesday with driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs and crashing into an Orange police officer, who remains hospitalized with serious injuries, authorities said.

The crash occurred about 3 a.m. Saturday, when three Orange Police Department officers responded to a call in the 500 block of North Cambridge Street.

There, one of the officers stood at the rear of his patrol car and collected paperwork.


Ashley Bertolino of Tustin was driving along Cambridge Street at 40 mph in a 25-mph zone and her car drifted toward the curb, crashing into the police officer, according to the Orange County district attorney’s office.

The officer was trapped under Bertolino’s car, but officers eventually rescued him. He was taken to a hospital with major injuries, prosecutors said.

A spokesman for the Orange Police Department told the Orange County Register that Officer Sharif Muzayen suffered serious injuries below his waist.

“He’s definitely not out of the woods when it comes to his injuries,” Lt. Fred Lopez told the newspaper. “He has a very long road ahead of him.”

Muzayen, a father of two children who fought in Afghanistan with the U.S. Marines, has been with Orange’s police force for about three years, the paper reported. An online fundraiser had collected more than $28,000 for Muzayen’s family.

Bertolino is accused of having a blood alcohol level of .13% and being under the influence of drugs, prosecutors said. She was taken to a hospital but was later booked at county jail. Bertolino was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail, according to jail records.


Prosecutors charged her with three felonies: driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs causing bodily injury; driving under the influence of alcohol causing bodily injury; and driving with a blood alcohol level over .08% and causing bodily injury.

If convicted of all the charges, she faces up to six years in state prison. She’s scheduled to be arraigned Jan. 6. An attorney for Bertolino could not be reached for comment.

Twitter: @MattHjourno.