A fleeing felony suspect with multiple prior convictions was arrested by Yuma County Sheriff’s Office (YCSO) deputies on April 14 with an assist from an off-duty YPG gate guard.
Officer George Wright, who has worked as a gate guard at U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground (YPG) for one year, lent a hand when he unexpectedly happened upon the suspect attempting to evade the deputies.
An Arkansas native and Marine infantry veteran, Wright was driving home from work when he saw a lone YCSO Deputy struggling with a suspect as another man fled on foot. Unknown to Wright was that the two men driving a 2005 Cadillac had just evaded an attempted traffic stop by YCSO, striking numerous other vehicles as they sped through heavy traffic backed up at stoplights on the Fortuna Road Interstate overpass. The multiple collisions eventually disabled their vehicle, at which point Wright happened upon the scene.
Wright and another bystander joined the pursuit and followed as the fleeing suspect ran into a residential neighborhood. They briefly lost the suspect until a resident told the men she saw someone running along the side of her house toward her backyard. Wright and the other bystander combed the woman’s backyard, seeing nothing out of the ordinary, yet multiple dogs barked incessantly from nearby yards. As they walked back toward the front of the house, Wright heard noise coming from the household's garbage can. The other man with him quickly lifted and closed the lid, seeing the man inside.
“I was just going to watch and wait for the deputies,” said Wright. “But the guy started trying to tip the garbage can to escape.”
Wright and the other man struggled to hold the garbage can in place.
“He pushed with his legs and I felt myself losing my balance,” said Wright.
When the suspect finally tipped the can over and emerged, Wright, a jujitsu enthusiast who formerly worked as a guard at the Arizona State Prison Complex in San Luis, Arizona for three years, pinned the suspect down. He held firm despite the suspect’s struggle and pleas, and moments later several YCSO Deputies arrived on the scene to make the arrest.
The suspect Wright helped detain is charged with theft of a means of transportation, criminal damage, possession of a weapon by a prohibited person, and burglary. The second suspect who fled in a different direction was later apprehended by YCSO Deputies.