Man Allegedly Escapes Custody, Takes Clovis Police Van for Joyride

Published 07/27 2014 10:00PM

Updated 07/27 2014 11:37PM

Donald Walker, 32, was arrested twice Saturday night, but not before taking a Clovis police van for a joyride first.

Sgt. Jim Koch says Walker had been arrested for burglary and narcotics violations.

He was handcuffed in the back of a Clovis police van waiting to be taken to the Fresno County Jail.

Koch says an officer went inside for only moments to bring out another man who was in custody, but Walker had already kicked open the back door to the van and hopped into the driver's seat.

"He was inside of there, he exited the van, pushed the open button on the gate, then exited out backward, and then drove forward and went out on the 5th Street gate," Koch says.

Koch says Walker rammed down the iron gate at the police department, almost striking an officer, and drove recklessly through the streets of Clovis.

The van finally came crashing into Stephanie Coronado's backyard in the 9700 block of E. Ashlan Ave.

She didn't want to be on camera, but she describes what she heard: "All I heard was the engine rev, just like vroom, like that, real fast," Coronado says.

The driver tore through her metal fence, now a mangled mess.

She says, moments later, police rushed by on Ashlan Avenue.

"I'm like, 'Hey!' Coronado says she waved her arms in the air as police rushed by. "They're all going that way. I'm going, 'Hey!' They just keep going until finally I call (911) and they say, 'Is it a van? Is it a chase?' And I was like, 'I don't know, but they went through my backyard and they're still there.'"

Tire marks through the field show how far the van travelled.

"It was crazy. They [police] said, 'Get in the house and lock the door,'" Coronado says.

About an hour later, K-9s with the Fresno County Sheriff's Office found Walker in the field behind Coronado's home and arrested him.

No one else was in the van, and no one was hurt.

Walker is now facing additional charges including escaping from jail and assault on a peace officer.

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