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'Our worst nightmare': Dallas police officer killed after crash with wrong-way driver while going to work

Officer Jacob Arellano was headed north on Spur 408 near Kiest Boulevard when his car was struck by another vehicle driving south, police said. He was 25 years old.

DALLAS COUNTY, Texas — A Dallas police officer has died after a crash with a wrong-way driver in southern Dallas late Tuesday night, Chief Eddie Garcia confirmed.

Garcia identified the officer as Jacob Arellano.

Arellano, 25, who had a young son and a girlfriend, died "after a brave fight," Garcia tweeted.

Garcia said Arellano died of head injuries suffered in the crash, which happened shortly before midnight on Spur 408 near Kiest Boulevard.

"We're mourning as a police department," a tearful Garcia said in a news conference Wednesday afternoon. "This is a tragedy for our department."

Arellano, whose brother is also a Dallas police officer, was driving to work for his shift, police said.  

He was in the middle northbound lane while the other driver was going southbound in those same lanes. A police news release said a "preliminary investigation has determined the wrong way driver may have been intoxicated." 

Police said the driver hit the front left side of the officer's SUV, forcing it to go into the right lane and get hit by a tractor-trailer. The SUV rolled several times before stopping on the right shoulder of Spur 408.

Arellano joined the Dallas Police Department in June 2019, police said. He was assigned to the Northwest Patrol Division.

Garcia at the news conference Wednesday said Arellano's fellow officers first noticed something was wrong when he didn't answer during roll call at the start of his shift.

The officers then started making calls to find Arellano "only to find that he had been seriously injured," Garcia said. 

Garcia asked for prayers for the department, "and especially the First Watch sergeant who called out [Arellano's name], only to have no one answer."

"We are all living our worst nightmare," Garcia said.

Garcia tweeted earlier Wednesday morning that the officer was "struck head on by a wrong way driver in a major collision" and that the officer was "fighting in critical condition."

"Our prayers are with our officer and his family," Garcia tweeted.

The wrong-way driver was also hospitalized in critical condition. According to sources, a blood draw found the driver's alcohol level was allegedly three times the legal limit. 

The tractor-trailer driver wasn't hurt.

The crash happened on the Spur at West Kiest Boulevard. Northbound lanes were shut down through the early-morning hours as officers investigated.

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