Berkeley police say they are closing in on the man they believe severely injured fellow officer Ben Cardoza in a hit and run accident last week.
“We have a good idea as to the identity of the suspect,” said BPD Police spokesperson Mary Kusmiss. She refused to divulge his name because of an ongoing investigation.
Meanwhile, the department has announced a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the driver. The money is being offered jointly by the city and the Police Officers’ Association.
The bloodstained white 1997 Chevrolet Caprice believed to be the hit-and-run vehicle was found early Friday morning after an anonymous tip led officers to the garage of a Hercules home.
Police arrested an Oakland man at the house for helping to hide the vehicle, but said 35-year-old Kevin Lamont was not the driver, nor did he live at the house.
Police inspected the car, finding bloodstains on the hood and dents which they believed were evidence that it struck Cardoza.
Cardoza remains a patient at Alta Bates Medical Center, recovering from a compound fracture in his right leg, three broken bones in his right foot, and a gash on the inside of his right arm from his wrist to his elbow.
“His spirits are good,” said Kusmiss, who visited him Monday.
A five-year veteran of the force, Cardoza, 26, was riding his police motorcycle westbound on Ashby Avenue at Wheeler Street in response to a reported traffic accident when he was struck by a car heading south.
Cardoza and his motorcycle were thrown an estimated 40-50 feet before ricocheting off a parked car and another oncoming car, according to BPD accounts of the accident.