A three-car accident on Highway 135 at Skyway Drive sent an on-duty Santa Maria police lieutenant and a pregnant woman to the hospital with complaints of pain Wednesday morning.

The accident happened after a Ford F-250 belonging to Sunbelt Rentals rear-ended a 1994 Pontiac Bonneville sedan driven by a pregnant woman who was stopped for a red light at the southbound stoplight at Highway 135 and Skyway Drive, police said.

The truck pushed the Bonneville forward, which in turn struck an unmarked police car that was first in line at the stoplight, the California Highway Patrol said.

Lt. Mike Cordero, 56, was fitted with a neck brace and taken to Marian Medical Center by ambulance for complaint of pain. The pregnant woman, Olga Olivares, 40, was also taken to Marian for precautionary evaluation. The airbags of the Olivares/ car deployed during the accident.

Both Cordero and Olivares were treated at Marian and released by Wednesday afternoon.

The accident elicited a large emergency response, with several police units and the police chief, in addition to Santa Barbara County and city fire, the California Highway Patrol and American Medical Response.

The truck 7 driven by Theodore Thaxton, 56, of Nipomo7 and the patrol car received minor bumper damage. The Bonneville 7 which was sandwiched between the other two cars 7 sustained moderate front and rear damage, including a bent hood, broken windshield and fluid leak.

The California Highway Patrol is handling the accident investigation since a Santa Maria police officer was involved.

This was the second accident in two weeks involving a Santa Maria Police car. On Nov. 8 an officer collided with a car in an intersection at Santa Maria Way and Bradley Road while trailing other vehicles involved in a pursuit.

A California Highway Patrol investigation determined that the officer had entered the intersection with his emergency lights on and was not at fault.

Mark Baylis can be reached at 739-2218 or mbaylis@santamariatimes.com

November 24, 2005

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