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Jail Joy Ride Ends In Arrest

Local sheriff's authorities were left scratching their heads Wednesday night after a drunken man crashed a stolen car through a remote gate at a Castaic jail, sped through the complex and out the main gate, then fled the scene after plowing into another car only to be arrested blocks away.

"Every day's different," county Sheriff's Sgt. Darren Harris said of the incident.

Around 7:30 p.m., Harris said the approximately 23-year-old Hispanic man - who refused to give authorities his name - drove a silver, late-model Honda Civic through the unmanned north gate of the North County Correctional Facility. The gate is located on a remote street near the Castaic Animal Shelter.

The man apparently sped through the jail complex and was spotted driving out of the facility's main gate by a custody assistant who was leaving for the day.

Harris said the assistant followed the man, and at the same time called the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station on his cell phone, reporting the incident and the license plate number on the car.

The Civic was listed as a stolen car from somewhere in the Los Angeles Police Department's jurisdiction, Harris said, and a call was put out to local deputies.

He said the custody assistant followed the driver for a short time before losing sight of him. Shortly after that, deputies received a call of a traffic collision at the intersection of Dickason and Smyth drives in Valencia, involving a car matching the description of the one leaving the jail.

Deputies responded to the scene to find the Civic - with its front end mangled - abandoned after crashing into a late-model Honda Accord driven by Monique Palmera of Valencia.

Palmera said she had just left the Paseo Club and was going home.

When she pulled out of the recreation club's parking lot on Dickason Drive around 7:45 p.m., she said the Civic seemed to come out of nowhere, crashing into the driver's side of her car. She suffered minor cuts.

Palmera said the man driving the Civic got out of the car, clutched his chest and fell to the ground, before fleeing the scene.

When deputies arrived at the scene of the crash, Harris said they began searching the surrounding area, aided by a sheriff's helicopter. In the car, deputies found a half-empty bottle of liquor and an undetermined amount of .38 caliber bullets, he said.

Meanwhile, a sheriff's detective spotted the suspect near the intersection of avenues Rockefeller and Mentry, and though uncooperative, the man was arrested without a struggle. He was positively identified by the witnesses from the scene of the collision, Harris said.

The man will face charges of felony vandalism and unauthorized entry to the jail property, felony drunken driving, felony hit and run, and grand theft auto, Harris said.

During the course of the incident, the jail was put on lockdown and a final inmate count at 8:55 p.m. determined none was missing.

Harris said it was unknown why the man entered the jail property.

Article courtesy of The Signal