Man accused of rear-ending police car

LAWRENCEVILLE - One of the biggest driving no-nos is rear-ending another car. The driver hitting a car from behind is often found to be at fault.

A bigger no-no would be to rear-end a police car.

An even bigger no-no would be to rear-end a police car while the officer was flashing his blue lights.

Police say Cirilo Velazquez, 36, of Norcross was driving his Ford F-150 pickup early Saturday morning and rear-ended a DeKalb County police car as an officer was attempting to pull over a 2005 Mazda on Interstate 85 north near Pleasantdale Road. The collision forced the police car to crash into the Mazda.

The officer, in a fully marked police vehicle, had activated his emergency blue lights, said Cpl. Darren Moloney, spokesman for the Gwinnett County Police Department.

The three-car collision, which occurred about 2:30 a.m., did enough damage for the two drivers and the officer to require medical attention. All three have been treated and released from the Gwinnett Medical Center.

Officer Robert Catalano of DeKalb County was in his patrol car, and a 22-year-old Duluth man was driving the Mazda.

"There was a good bit of damage done to the vehicle. The rear driver side was crushed in pretty good," said Michael Payne, a DeKalb County Police Department spokesman. "The officer was lucky to get out with minor injuries."

Gwinnett police are investigating the collision, which occurred just inside Gwinnett.

Payne said Catalano was on the shoulder of the interstate and was still inside his moving vehicle when the collision occurred.

Police say Velazquez is facing several charges including Georgia's "Move Over Law," where vehicles are required to slow down and move over to the next lane when emergency vehicles have activated their equipment.