A man who police said almost drove a stolen truck into a police officer in a downtown Palo Alto parking lot was captured early Sunday morning after a manhunt that concluded when he crashed the truck into a fence at Seale Park, fled into a residential area and was bitten by a police dog while preparing to hop a fence in a Loma Verde backyard.
The manhunt, which involved a helicopter and officers from surrounding jurisdictions, began just after 1 a.m., when Palo Alto officers spotted a man downtown who appeared to be driving a vehicle that was reported as stolen from East Palo Alto earlier this month.
Police reportedly saw a man driving the vehicle, a 1991 Nissan pick-up truck, on the 400 block of Emerson and began following the car. After seeing the the truck pull into a city lot at 551 High Street, between Hamilton and University avenues, two officers in separate cars turned on the sirens and began to approach its sole occupant.
Police said the suspect, later identified as Agusto Barron Angulo, ignored the two officers' commands and drove the truck right at them. While one officer had no trouble getting out of the truck's way, the other had to jump back into his patrol car to avoid getting struck, police said. The truck reportedly hit the patrol car's driver side door, causing minor damage and triggering a high-speed pursuit through the city streets.
After about 15 minutes of trying to dodge the police cruisers on his tail, Angulo allegedly drove to Seale Park, where he turned off his truck's headlights, drove onto the grass and crashed into the park's fence, knocking down a four-foot segment. Angulo, 21, of San Jose, then reportedly ditched the truck, fled off on foot and began hopping fences in the residential area.
Officers set up a perimeter in the area and requested help from a California Highway Patrol and officers from neighboring departments, including Stanford University, Mountain View and Menlo Park. A Palo Alto canine team led a yard-to-yard search for the suspect, who by this time was also wanted for assault with a deadly weapon.
At about 2:15 a.m., the canine team received word that Angulo was spotted by the CHP helicopter. Angulo was reportedly in the backyard of a home on the 900 block of Loma Verde Avenue, preparing to climb a fence from one yard to another near Louis Road.
The Palo Alto canine team quickly located Angulo and tried to capture him with the help of the police dog. Even after being bitten by the police dog, Angulo reportedly continued to resist arrest. After a brief struggle with Palo Alto officers, he was restrained and taken into custody, police said.
Police said Angulo suffered a minor injury to his left thigh, a cut on his right hand and scratches on his face. The two officers who were arresting him also had minor cuts and scratches on their hands and knees but reportedly did not need medical attention.
During the manhunt, police dispatchers made personal phone calls to houses in the affected area to keep them apprised of the situation. They did not activate the community alert notification because of the late hour.
After he was taken into custody, Angulo received medical attention at a local hospital and then cleared for incarceration. Angulo was booked into Santa Clara County Main Jail and charged with four felonies: assault with a deadly weapon, felony resisting arrest, reckless driving and vehicle theft.
While the police dog made it out of the scuffle unscathed, the grass at Seale Park was damaged by both the Nissan and the tow truck that eventually arrived to retrieve the stolen truck and that got stuck in the process. Both vehicles "eventually made it out," the police said in a statement. The Nissan truck was taken to the Palo Alto police station for evidence processing and is expected to ultimately be released to its lawful owner, police said.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the department's 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.