By Alma Fausto
The Orange County Register
Feb. 27–A man sought on suspicion of assaulting a police officer led authorities Monday evening on a chase from Santa Ana to Irvine that ended badly for the alleged culprit, who crashed the carjacked vehicle and then was taken down by a police K9.
The suspect was wanted in Garden Grove for assault with a deadly weapon on an officer on Feb. 18, Garden Grove police said. He was identified as 37-year-old Antonio Padilla Jr. of Riverside County.
In the Feb. 18 assault, Padilla tried to run over an officer with his truck during a traffic stop. He was also wanted for a parole violation out of Riverside County and has been under Post-Release Community Supervision, which means he was under the charge of the probation authorities, according to Garden Grove police.
“The motor officer was writing Padilla a traffic citation and Padilla recklessly backed his truck up, almost striking the officer,” said Garden Grove Police Lt. Carl Whitney. “The officer narrowly missed being run over.”
Padilla drove off and wasn’t found until Monday evening at about 5:50 p.m.
Garden Grove detectives in unmarked cars were trying to arrest Padilla in Santa Ana after spotting his 2016 GMC Sierra truck and asked for assistance from the Santa Ana Police Department, said Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna.
After Padilla refused to pull over, Santa Ana officers followed in pursuit, Bertagna said. At one point he tried to hit a police vehicle with his car. An Orange County Sheriff’s helicopter also joined in the pursuit.
When Padilla reached Irvine, he ditched the pickup truck and carjacked a woman in a black Audi SUV, said Kim Mohr of the Irvine Police Department. Padilla pulled the woman from the vehicle and went inside. The woman’s brother tried to intervene when he saw the carjacking taking place, but the suspect drove off after nearly hitting both of them with the SUV.
The pursuit ended when the man crashed the stolen vehicle at about 6 p.m. on Kelvin and Derian avenues, just west of Jamboree Road, Mohr said.
He tried to flee on foot, but was taken down by a K9. He was detained and was taken to a hospital to be treated for injuries he sustained during a struggle with police and the K9.
Whitney said that after his release from the hospital he was booked in jail for “numerous felonies” including assault with a deadly weapon for trying to hit a police vehicle and carjacking.
Irvine police will investigate the carjacking that occurred in that city and Santa Ana investigators will handle the report of the K9 apprehension.
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