Driver strikes Fall River police motorcycle officer during Veteran funeral procession

A Fall River police officer was injured Saturday when an unlicensed driver smashed into his motorcycle as he escorted a funeral procession for a veteran, police said in a statement.

Officer Jose Barboza, who is a member of the motorcycle unit, was hit on Stafford Road when a vehicle swerved in and out of the procession, Lt. Kevin Tetrault, of Fall River police, said. Barboza was thrown through the windshield of his motorcycle, crashed onto the hood of the vehicle, then slammed onto the roadway, Tetrault said.

Emergency crews responded and provided first aid to Barboza before transporting him to Saint Anne’s Hospital, where he was treated for bumps, bruises, and a broken nose, the statement said. He was later released.

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The driver, Jose Figueroa-Cruz 44, was charged with negligent operation of a motor vehicle, unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, and outstanding warrants for past motor vehicle violations.

Carmen Vazquez, 36, who was a passenger in the car, was charged with misleading police after telling officers she was the driver. Vazquez’s mother, Wanda Martinez, 60, who was also a passenger, was charged with interfering with a police officer and resisting arrest.

“I am pleased Officer Barboza is on the mend and not seriously injured. He is a credit to the [Fall River Police Department] and the Motorcycle Squad,” police Chief Daniel Racine said.

This is the second time in several months that one of his motorcycle officers was been hit by “erratic drivers,” Racine said.

“Today gives us pause and reminds us just how dangerous the public safety profession is,” he said. “I am relieved that my officers survived these accidents. Nevertheless, motorists needs to slow down, pay attention, and, most of all, obey the law. ”