CASA GRANDE — A 20-year-old Phoenix man led Casa Grande Police officers on a chase through town, jumping curbs and driving erratically before crashing his stolen truck into a power pole in a field.
Daniel Orozco Perez was arrested on suspicion of burglary, robbery, criminal damage, theft of means of transportation, unlawful flight from law enforcement and hit and run.
Police received a call at 5 p.m. on Jan. 3 from a man in the 1100 block of East Tyler Lane who said his truck had been broken into. The man told officers that he had been inside his home when he heard a noise in his driveway. He went out and found that the tailgate of his truck was open and that the window to the camper shell on the truck bed had been broken. He also noticed that the sliding window that led from the bed of the truck into the cab had also been broken and a pair of his work handcuffs were missing from the truck.
The man told officers he noticed a man, later identified as Orozco Perez, walking east from his home, so he got in his truck and followed the man. He said when he got to the intersection of Tyler Lane and Palm Parke Boulevard, he saw Orozco Perez leaning against a wall and took a photo of him to give to police. He described Orozco Perez as wearing black clothing with a white stripe.
The vehicle owner said as he was taking the picture, Orozco Perez approached his truck. He told officers Orozco Perez allegedly reeked of alcohol, appeared ready to throw up and had a pair of handcuffs in his right hand. The man said he tried to back his truck up and ended up hitting another truck that was behind him.
When he got out of the truck to speak with the driver behind him, Orozco Perez allegedly came around the truck, jumped into the driver’s seat and tried to drive off.
The vehicle owner pushed Orozco Perez and reached in to turn off the truck and remove the keys. As the vehicle owner did so, Orozco Perez allegedly punched the man in the jaw. Then Orozco Perez allegedly took off on foot toward Pueblo Drive. The driver of the other vehicle confirmed the man’s story.
Casa Grande Police officers set up a perimeter in the area. A K9 officer on the perimeter spotted a red pickup truck driving in the area of Racine Drive, which took off, jumped a curb and went across a park toward Pueblo Drive.
The first officer, who had parked his marked patrol vehicle on Kortsen Road, saw the red truck crossing the park area and started driving toward it on Kortsen Road. As the officer turned onto Pueblo Drive, the truck drove past him in the opposite direction at a high rate of speed.
The red truck crossed Kortsen Road and entered the parking lot of Cactus Middle School. Officers followed the truck into the parking lot. Officers describe the red truck jumping multiple curbs in the parking lot before it got to the fence of the school yard. At that point the truck turned around and continued south through the parking lot, jumping multiple curbs, before turning east onto Kortsen Road.
At that time three officers were pursuing the red truck at a high rate of speed east on Kortsen Road. One officer estimated speeds at greater than 70 mph. The truck crossed Peart Road, where another officer had stopped traffic, and continued east past the end of the pavement on Kortsen Road and crashed through a locked metal gate in the 1900 block of East Kortsen Road. The truck then continued east through a dirt field, throwing up a lot of dust, which made it hard for officers to see, before it crashed into a power pole.
Officers spotted the driver of the truck, later identified as Orozco Perez, allegedly walking north from the accident. Two officers drove up to Orozco Perez and ordered him to lie on the ground. Orozco Perez complied and he was taken into custody and one officer transported him to Banner Casa Grande Medical Center for a medical evaluation.
The other officers returned to the crash site and noted that the truck had Utah license plates and found a pair of handcuffs under the front seat. They also noted that both airbags in the truck had deployed in the crash.
One of the officers contacted the dispatch center to locate the owner of the red truck. The officer called the owner of the truck and left a message for them to call officers back.
A short time later, the owner of the red truck called the officer to report that the vehicle was missing. The person was visiting family in town and was unaware that the truck had been stolen until police called. They said they remembered locking the truck but were missing one of the sets of keys to the truck. A neighbor spotted the vehicle leaving the home around 5:06 p.m. on security camera footage.
The officer who transported Orozco Perez to the hospital attempted to interview him but cut the interview short as Orozco Perez was sick. He made a second attempt to interview Orozco Perez around 8:40 p.m. At that time Orozco Perez allegedly told the officer that he did not remember running from the police or attempting to rob anyone. He allegedly told the officer the last thing he remembered was arguing with a cousin who lives in the area.
The first officer to respond to the alleged robbery attempt interviewed Orozco Perez at the police station around midnight. Orozco Perez allegedly told that officer a similar story, that he remembered arguing with his cousin, leaving her car and walking through a field. He allegedly couldn’t remember what time the argument took place and he didn’t remember stealing the red truck or attempting to break into the other truck. He also allegedly said he didn’t remember being chased by the police or crashing the truck. He did allegedly tell the officer that he had been drinking that day.