4 years in prison for drunk driver who crashed into police car

4 years in prison for drunk driver who crashed into police car
A drunk driver plows into a Bakersfield police patrol car Sunday, March 11, 2012, on southbound Golden State Avenue south of the Kern River.

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — A drunk driver who plowed into a Bakersfield police patrol car was sentenced Tuesday in Kern County court to more than four years in prison.

Christopher Neumann, 36, had a blood-alcohol level of .17 the night of March 11. Traffic was backed up on Golden State Highway because of an earlier crash, and Neumann sped up to 65 mph to pass the slow-moving traffic.

Neumann's vehicle crashed into the back of Officer Rex Davenport's patrol car, which was pushed into a passing Honda Accord. The officer and Neumann's passenger were injured.

"Impaired drivers aren't aware of what is going on around them," District Attorney Lisa Green said in a news release. "This is what truly makes them dangerous. I am grateful that Officer Davenport was not more seriously injured and was able to return to work. He was doing what we expect police to do - help in an emergency, and Neumann's choice to drive impaired endangered his life and the other emergency responders that night."

Davenport, ironically, was assigned to the police department's award-winning A Life Interrupted Program, which uses a multimedia presentation and a "mobile DUI crash trailer that vividly displays the devastating outcome of a car crash" to warn young people about the dangers of drinking and driving.