A Mendocino County CHP officer was badly injured Wednesday night when he crashed into a tree on rural Comptche Ukiah Road as authorities pursued a suspect through a large area of western Mendocino County, the CHP said.

The officer was airlifted from the Comptche area to Ukiah Valley Medical Center with an arm injury. He was able to get out of his vehicle on his own and was expected to recover, Cal Fire and CHP officials said.

It was not clear Thursday what role the officer played in the 70-minute pursuit of a Ukiah probationer who was finally arrested several miles away with the use of a Taser stun gun, the CHP said.

The officer's name was being withheld.

The pursuit was launched at 9:19 p.m. when another CHP officer attempted to stop a southbound BMW coupe reportedly speeding and weaving on Highway 101 north of Ukiah, Officer Steven Krul said.

The red BMW appeared to slow and then took an exit at North State Street and led authorities on a chase reaching speeds between 55 and 75 mph on winding, hilly roads between Ukiah and Comptche, including Orr Springs Road, Flynn Creek Road, Appian Way, Masonite Road, Highway 128 and, ultimately, Wendling Soda Creek Road, the CHP said.

Along the way, the injured officer was driving on Comptche Ukiah Road when he struck the tree west of Flynn Creek Road, authorities said. Several CHP officers and Mendocino County sheriff's deputies went to his aid while others continued the pursuit.

Eventually, the BMW driver, later identified as Christopher Skaggs, 30, of Ukiah, pulled into a driveway on Wendling Soda Creek Road north of Highway 128 and bailed out on foot with a passenger, the CHP said.

Skaggs was apprehended a short time later. A female passenger who had remained in the car was questioned and released. The other passenger was not found, the CHP said.

Skaggs was arrested on suspicion of felony evasion of a peace officer causing injury, resisting arrest, violation of probation and driving with a suspended license, the CHP said.

You can reach Staff Writer Mary Callahan at 521-5249 or mary.callahan@pressdemocrat.com.

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