BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — An inmate crashed a van at Lerdo Jail in an apparent escape attempt Wednesday morning.
The Kern County Sheriff's Office says at about 7:30 a.m. an inmate identified as 23-year-old Ramon Castro was being transported with six other inmates to another facility when Castro escaped his handcuffs and managed to get into the driver's seat of the van.
Ray Pruitt, a spokesman for the department, says that the keys were left inside the transportation van and that it was left running when Castro jumped in, locked the doors, and drove off.
Deputies say Castro almost ran over a deputy, crashed through a locked gate, and then eventually slammed the transportation van into a deputy's personal vehicle near the main gate of the jail. He was then arrested at gunpoint.
"I don't know if he was trying to push their vehicle out of the way or what he was thinking," said Pruitt, "but he rammed their vehicle from behind as they were seated in the vehicle."
"It just goes to show the level of dedication that our people have in making sure the community is safe," he continued. "We were able to prevent this inmate from leaving the facility."
Minor injuries were reported. All seven inmates were accounted for and are in custody. Pruitt said the other six are not expected to be charged.
"(Castro will) be facing some additional charges including felony escape, grand theft auto, and several counts of assault with a deadly weapon," said Pruitt.
Pruitt said the jail will be on lockdown for the rest of the day. The department has yet to explain how Castro was able to slip his handcuffs.
The department also has yet to answer whether it is within their policy to leave a transportation van running in the parking lot while loading inmates.
Sheriff Donny Youngblood declined our request for an interview, and Pruitt said he does not know what the policy is.
"I don't have that information," said Pruitt.
At the time, Castro was only facing a misdemeanor charge. According to a Kern County criminal search history, this was his first arrest.