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Fleeing Suspect Ends Up on Floor Short of Goal Line

Times Staff Writer

An auto burglary suspect who showed the slippery moves of a pro running back came out on the short end of an open-field encounter Wednesday with a district attorney’s investigator who looked every bit the part of a middle linebacker.

David Rios Sanchez’s dash from a police patrol car while en route to County Jail ended shortly before noon when he was brought down by a clothesline tackle, said Dave Cohen, a spokesman for the San Diego Police Department.

The tackle was applied by Ned Downham as Sanchez, 21, ran through the lobby of the Wells Fargo Bank building at 101 W. Broadway, Cohen said.

At the time, Downham, 45, was on the way to his office, where he is assistant chief of the district attorney’s fraud division.

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Spontaneous Reaction

Downham said the tackle was a spontaneous reaction.

“A clothesline might be illegal in the National Football League, but not on the streets,” joked Downham, who is 6 feet tall and weighs 170 pounds.

The incident began when the handcuffed Sanchez broke out the rear window of the patrol car, climbed out and took off running. The car was stopped at 1st Avenue and Broadway while Officer Ronald Bruns was issuing a traffic citation.

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Bruns had arrested Sanchez earlier in Logan Heights on suspicion of auto burglary.

Downham said Bruns fell while chasing Sanchez and called later to thank him for corralling the suspect.

“I told him it was no big deal,” Downham said. “I usually just work paper cases and it was a little exciting to be out there for a second.”

Downham is the lead investigator in the San Diego Unified Port District fraud case.

Sanchez, a Southeast San Diego resident, is being held in lieu of $5,670 bail on suspicion of auto burglary, resisting an officer and vandalism.


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