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L.A. MOTORISTS RESCUE CHP OFFICER FROM ATTACKER

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Passing motorists rescued a California Highway Patrol officer who was attacked and severely beaten on the side of a freeway, subduing an assailant who had pinned her down and was pummeling her with his fists.

Officer Amy Bonilla, 28, was fighting with her attacker alongside the Antelope Valley Freeway Monday when several motorists came to her aid and overwhelmed the assailant."Everybody swarmed upon him," said Brent Ambrose, a Burbank, Calif., police officer who was among those who subdued the assailant.

"In fact, when I was handcuffing him, a guy was coming up with a pipe. He was going to thump him," Ambrose said.

Ronald Arnett Coleman, 34, an ex-convict from Palmdale, Calif., was arrested on suspicion of attempting to kill a police officer and held without bail.

CHP officials said a loaded pistol and an open container of alcohol were found in Coleman's car.

Bonilla, who suffered cuts and bruises, was treated and released from Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Officials said Coleman attacked Bonilla without provocation during a traffic stop, after she pulled him over about 8 a.m. Monday for driving 80 mph in a 55 mph zone.

During the fight, Coleman tried unsuccessfully to grab Bonilla's baton, CHP Cmdr. Edward Gomez said. Bonilla drew her weapon and fired one shot into the ground before Coleman wrestled her down and began pummeling her.

Officials said Bonilla was alone because all CHP officers work alone during the day. Officers work in teams of two only between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., when there typically is less traffic and a greater chance for encounters with motorists under the influence of drugs or alcohol.