Child Endangerment: Man Leads Police in Car Chase with Children in Tow
Photo: Anselmo Aguilera and Dana Diaz
Reports of an auto theft called Porterville Police officers to the Palm Three Inn on West Morton Avenue just after 3AM on 12/06/2019. The owner of the vehicle reported a visiting acquaintance took his keys and stole his vehicle.
While the victim was providing officers with details of the theft, the missing car was seen by another Porterville Police officer around the area of Sierra Minit Mart on South Plano Street. The driver refused to abide the signals of the officer to pull over thus starting a lengthy pursuit.
The suspect drove recklessly, reaching speeds of 90 MPH, even striking an officer’s patrol car. The suspect was able to evade officers by abandoning the vehicle in the Woodville area and fleeing on foot. He was later identified as 35-year old Tulare resident Anselmo Aguilera who, in addition to being wanted in connected with this car theft, had two outstanding felony warrants for his arrest.
The evening of 12/11/2019, Aguilera was spotted driving on West Montgomery Avenue in Porterville by an officer. He was signaled to pull over and once again refused, leading officers on a second chase. The pursuit came to a close when Aguilera struck the metal gate of a private property. He jumped out of the car while it was still moving to continue his flee on foot but was apprehended by the officer at a nearby orchard.
After his arrest, police discovered Aguilera had passengers in the car: 33-year old Dana Diaz and her two children, a 4-year old and 9-month old. No one was injured in either chase but the children were found to be improperly secured. Diaz was wanted for an outstanding misdemeanor warrant and Aguilera was later discovered connected to a third vehicle pursuit from August 2019. Both Aguilera and Diaz appeared under the influence of a controlled substance.
Diaz was arrested for felony child endangerment, under the influence of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, and the misdemeanor arrest warrant. She has been released under her own recognizance.
Aguilera remains at the Tulare county sheriff’s office south county detention facility for child endangerment likely to cause great bodily harm, evading an officer, willful disregard, obstructs/resists public officer/etc., possession of drug paraphernalia, hit and run driving, driving when privilege suspended or revoked, possession of firearm by a felon, unlawful driving or taking of a vehicle, purchase or receipt of a stolen vehicle, driving car without consent, and
assault upon a peace officer or firefighter. His bail is set at $730,000.
The children are in custody of the Tulare County Child Welfare Services.
Photos from Porterville Police Department