Santa Ana Police Dog That Lost Teeth In Chase Going Into Surgery

IRVINE (CNS) - A Santa Ana police dog that lost nearly all his teeth in the process of taking down a parolee who led officers on a wild pursuit, was undergoing surgery today to repair the damage.

Santa Ana police said Puskas lost all his upper and lower teeth, with the exception of his canine teeth, in the scuffle with the suspect, who was treated at a hospital prior to being booked Monday at the Orange County Jail on suspicion of numerous felonies for allegedly leading police on the high-speed chase from Santa Ana to Irvine, where he abandoned his pickup truck and carjacked a woman's SUV before being taken into custody.

Nine days before, Antonio Padilla Jr., 37, allegedly committed an assault with a deadly weapon on a Garden Grove motor officer who narrowly missed being struck by the suspect's truck during a Feb. 18 traffic stop,  according to Garden Grove police Lt. Carl Whitney.

The officer had stopped Padilla at the intersection of Trask Avenue and Taft Street for a traffic violation about 12:15 p.m., and as he was writing the citation, Padilla allegedly backed up his truck, almost striking the officer, then drove off, Whitney said.

Officers later learned that the Riverside County resident was on parole and under active supervision and wanted for a parole violation, Whitney said.

Detectives had been looking for Padilla in Orange and Riverside counties and about 5 p.m. Monday, they located his 2016 GMC Sierra in Santa Ana, the lieutenant said.

Santa Ana police in marked vehicles were asked to stop the truck, but Padilla refused to yield and the chase ensued, during which the suspect drove recklessly on freeways and surface streets, rear-ending one vehicle and side- swiping others, authorities said.

An Orange County Sheriff's Department helicopter unit and Santa Ana police K-9 unit joined the chase, which moved into Irvine, where Padilla's pickup truck became disabled about 5:40 p.m., Whitney said.

At that point, Padilla abandoned his pickup and allegedly carjacked a woman's Audi SUV, despite her brother's efforts to stop the suspect. The victim and her brother barely missed being struck by the carjacked SUV as Padilla again drove off, according to Whitney.

Minutes later, the Audi jumped a curb, hit a tree and soon after became disabled near the intersection of Kelvin and Derian avenues. Padilla ran from the SUV and was arrested after a brief struggle with the police dog, Whitney said.

Photo: Getty Images

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