Nabbed by infrared…
A vehicle driven by Bruce Mario Flores, 43, was spotted driving past Santa Ynez High School the night of March 25th without the benefit of tail lights and traveling westbound on Highway 126 in an erratic fashion.
According to Kelly Hoover, Santa Barbara County Sheriff Public Information Officer, a Sheriff’s Deputy attempted to conduct a routine traffic stop when Flores’ vehicle immediately made a U-turn “and fled at a high rate of speed.” As detailed in her report to the media, Flores “sped through intersections without stopping and ran several red lights” in a pursuit that reached speeds of 100 miles per hour throughout the Santa Ynez Valley.
While Deputies were in pursuit, they observed Flores “throwing evidence out of his car,” and were joined by local California Highway Patrol units in the chase. A half-hour later, the suspect vehicle was found abandoned at the Sunset Trail Head, a popular equestrian area leading into the Santa Ynez foothills. The vehicle was empty, and Flores was nowhere to be seen at that time.
Deputies secured a wide perimeter and called in multiple K-9 teams to search the area while a CHP helicopter with infrared capabilities joined the hunt. “The steep terrain and heavy brush hindered search efforts,” Hoover said, but after several hours, the CHP helicopter pilot observed a “faint heat signature” in a heavily brushed and virtually inaccessible area. Undaunted and working in midnight moonlight, search units finally located Flores hiding under a fallen tree. He put up a brief struggle, but was ultimately subdued and taken into custody.
Investigation revealed that Flores was on probation at the time of the incident, and he was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail for evading a police officer with reckless disregard for the public, reckless driving, driving under the influence, driving with a suspended license, failure to comply with a peace officer, and possession of a stolen vehicle. His bail was set at $75,000, and he remains in custody serving a ten day sentence on the probation violation charges.
Photo: Courtesy Santa Barbara County Jail Booking
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