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Driver Accused Of Striking San Francisco Police Officer Arraigned

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Police identified a driver who allegedly struck a San Francisco officer riding a bicycle Wednesday, leaving the officer with critical injuries.

Maurquise Johnson, also known as Maurice Johnson, has been charged with attempted murder, use of a deadly weapon, assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer, inflicting great bodily injury, battery with serious bodily injury, resisting arrest causing bodily injury, auto theft, possession of stolen property, evading arrest, reckless driving, evading a peace officer, driving without a license and resisting arrest, according to police.

Johnson, 50, remains in custody without bail and was arraigned Friday.

Police officers stood outside the San Francisco courtroom as Johnson, the man accused of running down one of their own, was arraigned.

Johnson allegedly struck Officer Elia Lewin-Tankel, 32, around 12:20 p.m. on Turk Street between Van Ness Avenue and Franklin Street.

Johnson was fleeing from officers who were trying to investigate him for a possible firearm investigation.

Critically injured SFPD Officer Elia Lewin-Tankel
Critically injured SFPD Officer Elia Lewin-Tankel (Facebook)

Lewin-Tankel, who was on a bicycle patrol at the time of the collision, was taken to San Francisco General Hospital and underwent surgery that afternoon. As of Friday afternoon, Lewin-Tankel remained in the hospital's intensive care unit.

Johnson's vehicle was found in the area of Buena Vista Park a short time later, prompting a search of that area before he was eventually taken into custody in the 500 block of Ellis Street around 3:30 p.m.

Lewin-Tankel has been with the department since 2012 and was assigned to Tenderloin Station in March 2016. Department officials said he has been recognized numerous times for outstanding police work and received a Purple Heart Award in 2015 for an incident in which he was injured as a direct result of actions he took to protect members of the community.

He recently started law school, volunteers for many community events in the Tenderloin and teaches jiu-jitsu to others in the department and community.

"During his five years with the San Francisco Police Department, Elia has proven himself to be a dedicated officer, committed to the residents of the communities he serves. As a Purple Heart recipient, he embodies the police department's ideals of selflessness, bravery and courage," Mayor Ed Lee said Thursday in a statement.

"Our police officers put themselves in harm's way every time they report to duty. We owe them a debt of gratitude for their service," Lee said.

"Elia is well liked and respected by all his colleagues and is a valued member of the department," police said in a statement.

The head of the police union was at the arraignment.

San Francisco Police Officers' Association President Martin Halloran said, "It could have been any one of us. And we have these officers out on the street 24/7. What happened to this poor officer could have happened to anyone else. And we just pray for his speedy recovery."

His family members issued a statement through the department asking "everyone to send good energy and prayers for his recovery, which we know will happen, because Elia is a survivor."

A sign on a door at the police department reads: "Elia is a survivor and he will get through this."

TM and © Copyright 2017 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News Service contributed to this report.

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