A man wanted for assaulting an officer was arrested in Irvine Monday after a K-9 helped police end an erratic pursuit that involved multiple collisions and a carjacking, authorities said.
Antonio Padilla Jr., 37, is suspected of attempting to run over an officer during a traffic stop the afternoon of Feb. 18, according to the Garden Grove Police Department.
The officer had pulled him over at a parking lot for expired tags, Lt. Carl Whitney said. As she was writing a citation, Padilla allegedly tried to hit her with his truck.
“She had to dive out of the way to avoid being hit by the suspect,” Whitney said.
Whitney said the officer pulled out her weapon but didn’t fire, and Padilla was able to get away.
On Monday, the suspect was reported being sighted in Santa Ana. At around 5:30 p.m., Garden Grove police sent undercover officers to the scene and asked Santa Ana police for assistance, according to authorities.
Padilla fled when officers approached his 2016 GMC Sierra near 1300 South Ross Street, authorities said. Officers lost sight of his truck due to traffic, police said, but an aerial unit later spotted it near the 55 Freeway.
@GardenGrovePD detectives looking for Antonio Padilla Jr who was wanted for ADW on an ofcr on 02/18/18. Today, Padilla's truck was found & @SantaAnaPD attempted to stop Padilla. A #pursuit started. Padilla carjacked another vehicle in Irvine and crashed. #K9Bite by SAPD K9 Puskas pic.twitter.com/j0wjxY6Rpl
— Garden Grove Police (@GardenGrovePD) February 27, 2018
A pursuit ensued from the 55 to the 405 Freeway, during which Padilla hit multiple vehicles, according to authorities. Padilla came to a dead end on Rosa Drew Lane in Irvine, where he got out of his truck and pulled a woman out of her SUV, police said.
The woman’s brother tried to intervene, according to a statement from Irvine police, but Padilla was able to take the SUV. Neither victim sustained any injuries, the news release said.
Padilla drove away in the SUV, which shortly lost its tires near Kaiser and Gillette avenues, police said. Padilla started running, but officers were able to apprehend him at around 6 p.m. with help from a police dog.
“Padilla could not outrun the K-9,” a statement from Garden Grove police said.
The handler of the dog believed the animal, named Puskas, broke a couple of teeth while tackling Padilla. Police said Puskas was examined but did not provide further details about the K-9’s condition.
Authorities said Padilla was taken to a hospital, where he was treated. They later booked him at an Orange County jail for numerous felonies, Garden Grove police said in a statement.
Padilla, a parolee on early release, had been previously jailed on a domestic violence charge, Whitney said.
Garden Grove police will handle the assault incident while authorities in Irvine will take charge of the carjacking investigation. California Highway Patrol will oversee a crash that occurred on the 405 during the pursuit.
KTLA’s Nidia Becerra, Chip Yost and Matt Phillips contributed to this report.