Man escapes custody in downtown Bakersfield

Posted at 9:19 AM, Apr 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-15 20:34:30-04

A man slipped out of custody in downtown Bakersfield during a hearing Friday morning.

23ABC spoke to witnesses who were in the courtroom at the time of the escape. They said that 21-year-old Anthony Espinoza was in an upstairs courtroom and appearing out of custody for weapons and sexual battery charges.

The witnesses told 23ABC that Espinoza was going to be sent to Patton State Hospital, which is a forensic psychiatric hospital, because he had tried to commit suicide while out of custody.

After the judge had him apprehended, Espinoza took a seat with other inmates, waiting for jail transport.

The witnesses say that Espinoza slipped one of his hands out of the handcuffs and bolted out of the courtroom before making his way down the escalator and out of the courthouse building.

"It's pretty secured, yes," said Sgt. James Nabors of the California Highway Patrol.

"Apparently he was pretty fast is what I was told."

Espinoza then ran across the street and into the Bank of America parking structure. 

Matt Ashe, a California Highway Patrol officer from Fresno, was set to appear as a witness in another case when he saw Espinoza run out of the courthouse. He and his K-9, Sepp, ran after Espinoza.

Bakersfield police and California Highway Patrol officers surrounded the parking structure off Truxtun Avenue and Sepp located Espinoza on the top level of the parking structure.

"In my 22 years here assigned, I have never heard that happening in Bakersfield before," said Nabors.

"It's just one of those instances that he caught everyone by surprise."

Espinoza was arrested and will appear in court on Tuesday for resisting arrest and escaping jail while charged with a felony.