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Sacramento mayoral candidate helps police catch fleeing driver

11:04 PM, Jul 30, 2012   |    comments
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SACRAMENTO, CA - Bounty hunter and perennial Sacramento mayoral candidate Leonard Padilla found himself in the middle of a hit-and-run chase down Highway 99 Monday afternoon.

"All of a sudden this car is just coming up in the rear view mirror like 100-miles an hour," Padilla said, adding the car was weaving dangerously through traffic.

As the Audi sports car raced past, Padilla called 911.

"It wasn't necessary because right up the road he's crashed into the wall," Padilla said.

But the still-unidentified suspect, a male who appears to be in his 30's started to leave the scene.

"And I told him, I said, 'You can't leave until the police get here,'" Padilla recalled. "So I pulled my cuffs out and says, 'Hey, I'll cuff ya.'"

But the suspect jumped back into the damaged car and drove away.

"He gets in the car, and there's one wheel missing completely and he gets in there and he makes that thing go. And he's going up the freeway towards 12th Avenue," Padilla said.

Padilla kept California Highway Patrol dispatchers updated on the driver's progress as he turned off and began a wild drive through Oak Park that included a crash through a barricade at First Avenue and Broadway Avenue.

By that time, Sacramento police were behind the car and one officer used a "pit maneuver" to finally bring it to a stop.

Perhaps remarkably, the driver of the Audi was unhurt, even with serious damage to his car.

Sacramento police soon had the man in the back of a patrol car.

Information on the suspect was not immediately available. Sacramento police said the CHP was investigating the case, while the CHP said it was Sacramento police who were handling the investigation.

To Padilla, who helped get the dangerous driver off the road, the incident was a reminder of a deadly hit-and-run in Carmichael just two weeks before that killed one man and four dogs.

"You know, that drunk driver the other day that killed those four dogs and that gentlemen, if somebody had seen him and said, 'Hey, he's driving erratic, that ain't right,' and done something about it, those dogs and that gentleman might be alive."

News10/KXTV

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