April 1, – Santa Barbara County
Anthony Samuel Soto, 26, was arrested and booked on multiple felony charges on March 29th following a desperate attempt to flee from Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Deputies that ended in a violent traffic collision…all while Soto had a two year-old child in the vehicle with him.
It all began with a 911 Emergency call reporting a suspected episode of domestic violence in an Orcutt neighborhood in which a female was observed by witnesses alighting from a white SUV as the apparent result of a verbal and physical altercation with the SUV’s driver.
Responding patrol units spotted the SUV shortly thereafter and proceeded to conduct a traffic stop upon the vehicle. According to Drew Sugars, SBSD Public Information Officer, “the driver refused to pull over and drove away from the deputies.” The suspect was then followed by the Sheriff’s unit, while deputies called for aerial task force backup.
Shortly thereafter, Sugars detailed in his report to the media, “the suspect vehicle changed direction several times, heading north back to the city of Orcutt with our aerial unit following from above.” At that point, the suspect had entered a heavily-populated and trafficked area and the initial following SBSD unit suspended their pursuit “out of concerns for public safety,” Sugars noted.
Fifteen minutes later, the helicopter unit observed the SUV racing through the streets of Santa Maria, run an intersection red light, and crash into another vehicle. Media reports indicate that local witnesses to the accident saw Soto exit the SUV with a toddler in his arms and flag down a passing car which then drove him to a local area pool hall.
Sheriff’s ground units then responded to the pool hall and apprehended Soto, arresting him on charges of Obstruction of an Investigation, Reckless Driving, and Child Endangerment. The toddler was found to be uninjured and was released to other family members while Soto was transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital for treatment of superficial injuries caused by the traffic collision, and was subsequently booked into Santa Barbara County Jail.
Photo: Bob McCullough
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