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Patrol car careens into house
A Ceres patrol unit crashed into a Moffet Road house Saturday morning after his Code 3 roll with lights and siren was interrupted by a motorist who turned into his path.

Sgt. Dennis Perry, 39, sustained minor injuries when his patrol car careened into the home of Jeff and Robin Warn at the corner of Moffet Road and Caswell Avenue. The patrol car ran up onto the Warn's concrete porch and steps, knocked loose a pillar and then punched a hole in the corner of the house. The collision busted up bricks and wood on the outside wall and damaged an interior bedroom closet.

Perry was taken by ambulance to be treated at Doctors Medical Center.

The California Highway Patrol was called in to investigate the 10:56 a.m. accident since a city police unit was involved. According to their report, Sgt. Perry was traveling northbound at 35 to 40 mph on Moffet Road in emergency mode en route to assist fellow officers who were chasing a felon on foot. Perry came behind motorist Rhona F. Dunson, 47, of Ceres, who was driving a 1998 Ford. Instead of pulling over or yielding to the officer, Dunson stopped in the road to make a left turn onto Caswell at the same time Sgt. Perry began to pass on her left. The two vehicles sideswiped each other, sending the patrol car into the yard and house.

Dunson was not hurt.

Ceres Police Chief Art deWerk said that state law requires all motorists to pull over immediately when an emergency vehicle is in the area.

"If you can't pull to the right then you need to stop and let that emeregncy vehicle navigate its way through," said deWerk. "Other motorists did pull over and or stop but we had this one exception which is real troubling and it's my belief that's what led to the collision."

Deputy Chief Mike Borges said the CHP will determine if Dunson would be cited for making an unsafe move. But he said his agency's preliminary investigation leads him to believe "that she failed to yieled to an emergency which is required by the California Vehicle Code."

Perry was reportedly doing fine yesterday and will return to work on Thursday, said deWerk. He sustained contusions, bruising and strain to his thigh, neck and right shoulder.

"Air bags are like you're being punched out and often that's where the soreness is from," said deWerk. "Your body takes a beating from the air bags."

Perry was attempting to assist fellow officers in a search in the 2800 block of Fowler Road for a 14-year-old juvenile who is wanted for assault with a deadly weapon against a family member. The teenager was not apprehended and the search broke off, said Borges, to attend to Sgt. Perry's crash.