Local News in Brief : South County : First Infrared, Then Fangs, Then Capture

A fleeing suspect bit off more than he could chew--or perhaps it was the other way around--when he tried to fight off a police dog working with California Highway Patrol officers Thursday night.

The 26-year-old suspect was taken to San Clemente General Hospital for treatment of dog bites on both thighs.

The incident began at 6:47 p.m. when the CHP pursued a suspected drunk driver south on Interstate 5 in the Mission Viejo area, CHP Sgt. Dennis Dyer said. A check of the license plate indicated that the car was stolen.

The suspect suddenly stopped in the freeway’s center divider near Cristianitos Road and ran across the freeway lanes, almost getting hit, and into a large field near Camp Pendleton, he said.


The CHP searched the field, assisted by helicopters from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. A second helicopter from the Costa Mesa Police Department located the suspect by using infrared sensors that detected the suspect’s body heat in the tall, dense brush, Dyer said.

That’s when Nick, a German shepherd police dog with the Sheriff’s Department, was sent in. The suspect, identified as Fernandez Hernandez of Modesto, tried to fight off the dog. “He lost,” Dyer said.

Hernandez was arrested on suspicion of car theft and driving while intoxicated, Dyer said.