SLIDELL, La. -- A police lieutenant is at home recovering from minor injuries, after a suspected heroin user plowed into the back of a Slidell Police vehicle Monday afternoon.
Around 4 p.m. a Slidell Police officer was parked on the shoulder of Fremeaux Avenue, monitoring traffic, when he looked into his rearview mirror and saw 32-year-old Ronald Ceplina driving a 2004 Lincoln LS, veer off of the road heading straight for his 2012 Chevrolet Tahoe police vehicle.
The officer noticed Ceplina was distracted and saw him look up, but before he could react, Ceplina crashed directly into the rear of his police car. Ceplina was traveling at about 40 mph, according to police. The impact pushed the officer’s vehicle several feet, causing minor injuries to both the officer and Ceplina, who was not wearing his seat belt at the time of the crash.
When the officer asked Ceplina why he was distracted, he could not give a clear answer, and after a search of the vehicle, police found a fresh syringe, along with what appeared to be heroin. The syringe apparently had dried blood on the needle, and Ceplina had fresh injection marks on his arm, according to police.
Police believe Ceplina was distracted because he was actually injecting the heroin at the time of the crash.
Louisiana State Police cited Ceplina with careless operation, driving under suspension and no seat belt. He was also booked by Slidell Police for possession of heroin and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Police Chief Randy Smith said, “What disturbs me most about this incident is that this occurred during the time when young children were getting off of school buses and walking home. We were lucky no one was seriously injured, or even killed. We pray for a speedy recovery for the officer who was injured.”