Hollister police arrest 3 after attack on officers

Melee occurs after traffic accident on Nash Road

The Hollister Police Department arrested two men and one woman for obstructing and battery on officers who were attempting to aid crash victims.

Police said a fight that broke out at the scene of the wreck posed a “dangerous situation” for three officers surrounded by an angry crowd.

On Aug. 26 at about 9:38pm, Officer Evan Umstead was on patrol when he came upon a traffic collision that had just occurred on Nash Road near Prune Street. A white Acura was disabled in the middle of Nash Road, and he stopped to render aid and conduct an investigation, police said.

While the officer was trying to verify the drivers’ identities and see if there were any injuries, several uninvolved people walked into the scene and into the roadway. Some were intoxicated and aggressive toward the officer, police said in a press release.

It was later learned the group included family members of the driver of the white Acura and had been attending a nearby party on Knight Lane.

Two additional officers responded to the scene to assist Umstead, but the three officers were greatly outnumbered by the crowd, police said.

Two men later identified as Ernesto Alvarez Jr. and Gilbert Arturo Lozoya-Sanchez continued to argue with and approached officers despite being told several times they were obstructing an investigation and warned that they would be arrested if they continued.

Approximately nine individuals came out into the roadway and stopped traffic. All ignored commands to step away from the officers and to get out of the roadway.

After repeated commands to step back and to stop interfering, officers attempted to take Alvarez into custody, but police said he resisted arrest. Jacqueline Valdez stepped in between the officers and Alvarez to prevent his arrest. One officer was struggling to overcome the suspect’s resistance when Valdez allegedly approached him from behind and struck him in the back of the head.

A second struggle began when Lozoya-Sanchez also resisted arrest, police reported. Several uncooperative family members obstructed officers by pulling and tugging on their uniforms.

The three suspects were eventually taken into custody. Alvarez was booked on the charge of obstructing and resisting arrest. Lozoya-Sanchez was booked on battery of an officer and obstruction. Valdez was booked on charges of battery on an officer and obstruction.

One officer was injured during the struggle but should be able to return to work soon, police said.

The San Benito County Sheriff’s Department and the California Highway Patrol assisted the Hollister officers at the incident.

Anyone with information regarding these investigations is requested to contact Officer Evan Umstead at 831-636-4330. Persons wishing to remain anonymous may call WeTip at 800-78-CRIME. Information provided to WeTip may qualify for a reward.

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