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California Deputy on Run After Arrest Is Back in Custody

Fugitive Deputy Back Behind Bars After Crafty Escape 1:44

A California sheriff’s deputy who had been sought after getting free from handcuffs and a patrol car after his arrest Tuesday has been caught, officials said Thursday.

Kern County sheriff's Deputy Edward Gordon Tucker, 44, was arrested in Oildale, near Bakersfield, at around 3:20 p.m. local time, NBC affiliate KGET reported.

The arrest comes more than a day after he got out of handcuffs and reached through a cracked patrol car window to escape from custody Tuesday night.

Earlier Thursday, the Kern County sheriff’s office released surveillance video that showed Tucker, a deputy for nearly 19 years but who has been on leave, escape from the patrol car he was in as two other deputies did paperwork nearby.

"When you watch the video, from a law enforcement standpoint you want to scream at the video, 'Wake up, look to your right,'" Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood told reporters earlier Thursday.

Thursday was the third time Tucker has been arrested since Saturday.

Tucker was arrested after the deputy was allegedly under the influence of methamphetamine and asked a group of young girls a “nonsensical” question then pointed a firearm at them, Youngblood said.

Tucker was booked and released on bail, and was arrested again after a friend called police and asked for a welfare check, and deputies allegedly found guns and suspected methamphetamine in his car, Youngblood said.

Tucker may have used a handcuff key to escape, Youngblood said. Tucker was placed in “double handcuffs” after he complained of back pain, and when the patrol car was in the basement of the jail Tucker said he felt nauseous so the window was rolled down to give him air.

The deputies were on a computer on the trunk of a nearby car, apparently typing reports while they waited for the jail to be locked down — because Tucker is a deputy �— when he escaped.

"It’s not uncommon for us to double handcuff, is not uncommon for us to roll the window down so that a suspect can get air," Youngblood said. "But it is uncommon to not pay attention to that suspect."

Tucker had been on leave for about a year, while disciplinary proceedings took place, Youngblood said. He said the sheriff’s office would review how the escape occurred.