BAKERSFIELD — It didn’t take long to catch the suspect who police believe was involved in a hit and run accident that claimed the life of a 26-year-old Bakersfield police officer early last Friday morning.
Thanks to a anonymous tip line caller, Julian Hernandez, 32, of Bakersfield was arrested on June 27, and was booked into the Kern County Jail facing charges of evading an officer in a vehicle causing injury or death, hit and run causing injury or death, obstructing arrest with violence, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and additional firearms related charges.
Hernandez, who has prior convictions for domestic violence and other felony charges is being held on $610,000.
“The Bakersfield Police Department would like to thank the anonymous caller who provided the information that led to the arrest of Mr. Hernandez,” said BPD Public Information Officer Joe Grubbs. “We would also again like to thank the public for their outpouring of support and condolences to officer Nelson’s family and the Bakersfield Police Department during this very difficult chapter for us and the community.”
Nelson, a two-year officer with the BPD, was killed just before 3 a.m. on June 26, when he crashed his patrol vehicle into a brick wall at on the corner of Panorama Drive and Mount Vernon Avenue in northeast Bakersfield.
The events leading up to the crash began at around 2:30 a.m., when police said Nelson pulled over a vehicle, allegedly driven by Hernandez, near the area of Flower Street and Haley Street in northeast Bakersfield. A pursuit ensued, during which, a short time later, BPD dispatchers said they lost radio contact with officer Nelson.
Ten minutes later two other officers located Nelson and pulled him from his burning patrol car. Nelson was taken to nearby Kern Medical Center where he was pronounced dead just after 3 a.m.
A tip line was set up, and at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 27, the Bakersfield Police Department received the call they had been hoping for. “The caller said they had seen a vehicle matching the description of the suspect’s vehicle frequenting a residence located in the 2600 block of Sunny Lane,” Grubbs said. “Officers responded to the residence where they contacted Hernandez.”
The suspect vehicle was recovered at the home, along with evidence connecting Hernandez to a discarded shotgun recovered at the scene of the collision.