– A Gilroy man who attempted to evade a sheriff’s deputy was
captured after a helicopter search Saturday night in a field off
Frazier Lake Road in Santa Clara County, authorities reported.
Hollister – A Gilroy man who attempted to evade a sheriff’s deputy was captured after a helicopter search Saturday night in a field off Frazier Lake Road in Santa Clara County, authorities reported.
Juan Ponze, 33, was arrested by San Benito County sheriff’s deputies Saturday night on suspicion of resisting arrest, driving under the influence, possession of less than an ounce of marijuana and being under the influence of drugs, all misdemeanors, Lt. Roy Iler said. Ponze was also booked on one charge of evading peace officers causing serious bodily injury, a felony, Iler said.
A California Highway Patrol helicopter, which was in town because of the Gilroy Garlic Festival, helped capture the man, the CHP reported.
A sheriff’s deputy attempted to pull over a man for expired registration tags at 9:30pm Saturday westbound on Shore Road, Iler said. The driver, who had been swerving, accelerated and turned northbound onto Frazier Lake Road heading toward Gilroy, deputies said.
Eventually, the man turned off into a field and fled on foot in the 5700 block of Frazier Lake Road, Iler said.
Deputies were unable to find the man at first, and Gilroy Police Department and CHP officers came to assist, deputies reported. A CHP helicopter helped in the search and played a crucial role in capturing the man, the sheriff’s office said.
“Without their help we wouldn’t have taken him into custody,” Iler said. “We didn’t have enough deputies to set up a good perimeter.”
Officer Chris Armstrong, a public information officer with the Hollister-Gilroy area office of the CHP, said the helicopter stays in San Luis Obispo because the office is part of the CHP’s coastal division.
“It was already here because of the garlic festival,” Armstrong said.
The helicopter spotted the man a half-mile into the field within about an hour of the initial pursuit, Iler said.
A sheriff’s office deputy, a Gilroy police officer and three CHP officers surrounded the man in the field, the sheriff’s office reported. The man would not cooperate with commands to surround, and when he attempted to stand up the deputy shot him with a Taser gun, Iler said.
Deputy Matt Soto twisted an ankle during the foot pursuit and was unable to deploy his canine partner, Deputy Dix, the office’s trained German shepherd, Iler said.
Authorities found 15.28 grams of marijuana near the man during the arrest.
Ponze is being held in the San Benito County Jail in lieu of $100,000 in bail.