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Man With Broken Leg Eludes Police

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

After failing to elude police in a car, Trent Arthur Preciado made his getaway in a wheelchair.

Preciado, 30, suffered a broken leg in a car accident following a police chase on July 18, authorities said.

While recovering from his injury at Ventura County Medical Center, Preciado apparently pulled out his IV, hopped on a wheelchair and made an escape on Saturday, said Officer Dave Cockrill of the California Highway Patrol.

Authorities had turned Preciado over to the hospital for care, but no guards were placed at the door because he was not considered a high risk for flight.

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“He had the freedom of the place,” said Sherry Landsiedel, nursing director for the hospital.

It is believed that Preciado had help in his escape, since it is unlikely that he was mobile enough to leave his room on his own and find a wheelchair. His accomplice is believed to have been in a car, Cockrill said.

“It’s entirely possible that the person that had the car got a wheelchair and wheeled it in to him,” Cockrill said.

The incident that got Preciado into trouble in the first place began about 3 a.m. on July 18 when sheriff’s deputies spotted his car drifting over the center divider on Foothill Boulevard in Ventura.

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When officers motioned for him to pull over, Preciado took off, authorities said.

Reaching speeds of 70 mph, Preciado miscalculated when he tried to make a turn onto Victoria Avenue and crashed into a pole, injuring himself and a passenger, Cockrill said.

Both Preciado and the passenger, Angel Palafox, 31, were rushed to the hospital, where they were treated for broken legs, Cockrill said.

Later, Preciado told deputies that he fled because he believed there were outstanding warrants for his arrest--but that turned out not to be the case, Cockrill said.

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Preciado is described as Latino, 6 feet 1, and about 210 pounds, with short black hair and brown eyes.

Authorities are also looking for Palafox, who is wanted for questioning.

Due to the nature of Preciado’s injuries, authorities believe he may need to seek medical attention soon.

“In my mind, Tylenol is not going to be enough of a pain killer for the kind of injury he has,” Cockrill said.

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Anyone with information on the case can call the CHP at (805) 654-4571.


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