A man suspected of leading the California Highway Patrol on a high-speed chase and fleeing the scene of a crash in San Jose became wedged between two buildings Wednesday night and had to be extricated by firefighters, according to police and fire officials.
The man, identified as Arturo Aguilar Corona, 32, was wearing only a trash bag after allegedly ditching his clothes at the scene of the collision and getting jammed in an 18-inch space between the Orchard Supply Hardware and a second store located at Capitol Expressway and Aborn Road, according to police. He fell about 10 to 15 feet from the roof in the back of the shopping center into a very small space between the two buildings.
At about 2 a.m. San Jose police called firefighters to the Orchard Supply Hardware at 1751 Capitol Expressway, near Aborn Road, to get man out, according to fire Capt. Reggie Williams. The urban search and rescue team used ropes which were tied to the man's wrists and ladders to hoist him back to the roof, Williams said.
The rescue took about 90 minutes.
Corona called 911 and said he became stuck after being chased by two men armed with knives, according to San Jose police Lt. Mike Sullivan. But police say the man had been involved in a high-speed pursuit with the CHP, a chase officers called off once the suspect hit city streets.
Police believe Corona led CHP officers on a chase on Highway 101 sometime around 10 p.m. and exited the freeway at Tully Road. Once on city streets, the CHP called off the pursuit and law enforcement officials circulated the area in search of the vehicle, a Honda Civic.
Officers located the Honda after it collided with an Acura Integra at South King and Aborn roads, Sullivan said. A passenger in the Integra suffered non life-threatening injuries in the collision and was taken to a hospital.
The Honda driver took off on foot.
"We feel very strongly he (Corona) was involved in the pursuit," Sullivan said.
Police say Corona is the listed owner of the Honda involved in the hit-and-run collision. The car involved also matches the vehicle description of the car involved in the CHP pursuit, Sullivan said.
The CHP did not offer any information regarding the pursuit of the Honda police believe was driven by Corona.
At first Corona gave officers a false name. Police say he is also wanted on a previous warrant for an "unrelated criminal matter."
Before calling police, the man called his girlfriend and asked her to come help him out, Sullivan said. Corona also asked his girlfriend to bring a change of clothes.
The girlfriend came to the area where Corona was trapped but couldn't find him in the darkness. She left the change of clothes at the scene and took off, Sullivan said.
Police believe Corona was trying to change clothes in an effort to avoid being arrested. He was wearing only a trash bag at the time he was rescued, according to police.
Corona was arrested on suspicion of felony hit and run and driving on a suspended license, Sullivan said.
Wiliams, the fire captain, compared the small space between buildings to a chimney. Williams added firefighters in the past have been asked to extricate burglary suspects out of chimneys.
"We don't get these too often but our crews were able to deal with it," Williams said.