Stephen Ellison

Handcuffed Escapee Rescued, Returned to Custody After Jumping Into Rushing Boulder Creek

An escaped prisoner led authorities on a wild chase through the Santa Cruz Mountains on Monday before being rescued from the rushing waters of Boulder Creek and taken back into custody.

Santa Cruz County sheriff's deputies said the hectic scene started when the man was arrested for trespassing. Just as officers realized the man had an outstanding warrant for robbery and assault with a deadly weapon, the handcuffed suspect bolted.

Stunned observers watched as a chase ensued.

"Next thing I know, after he comes through the yard, he ends up running down this cliff basically, and jumps into a creek," Mike Combs, of Boulder Creek, said. "And he was handcuffed behind his back and everything. So I was really surprised."

The chase quickly turned into a rescue when the prisoner was swept away by the fast-rushing water.

At one point, deputies spotted the suspect out of the water along the shore, but when they called for him to surrender, he jumped back in and disappeared.

"All the locals here know that the creek is very dangerous," Combs said. "And right now, with all the water, the water is so high, yeah it's dangerous without handcuffs."

State Parks officers and the Ben Lomond Swift Water Rescue team responded to the scene and found the man snagged under a bank, where he was rescued and retaken into custody.

"Obviously, the concerns are the water levels, to make sure to stay out of there whether you're handcuffed or not," sheriff's Sgt. Nick Baldrige said.

The sheriff's office did not release the name of the suspect.

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