SANTA CRUZ (CBS SF) — A handcuffed woman’s escape attempt from a deputy’s patrol car near Santa Cruz ended in gunfire early Friday morning, with the woman shot and a deputy injured.
It began at around 3:30 a.m in the area of Ocean Street Extension, a rural road that connects Highways 1 and 17 just north of Santa Cruz, when deputies pulled up on a man and a woman in separate cars.
It’s a remote road that has seen recent complaints about drug use and trespassers. “The end of the street has been a problem for various reasons, whether it’s drug use or transients or camping,” said Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Sgt. Brian Cleveland.
When deputies ran the license plates, one of the vehicles came back as stolen.
Santa Cruz County Sheriff Jim Hart said the deputies took both people into custody. As the male suspect was being interviewed, the woman – who was in the back seat of a patrol car – somehow slipped out of her handcuffs, said Hart.
She then she took deputies by surprise. “The woman then entered the driver side of the patrol car and without warning drove the car at the deputy, striking him and damaging the patrol car,” said Hart. “Instead of fleeing the area the woman continued to re-engage with the deputies, driving the car back and forth at them.”
A second deputy fired three times at the woman, striking her in the chest. She was flown the hospital where she had surgery and is expected to survive. The deputy who was hit was not seriously injured and was released from the hospital by noon, though sheriff’s officials said he will need more medical care.
When the unidentified woman is released from the hospital, she will be taken to the county jail on suspicion of attempted murder of a peace officer and other offenses.
Body-worn camera footage will be made available next week, according to the sheriff’s office. The sheriff’s office said the male suspect was cooperating with investigators.