Teen accused of stealing police car

15 year old from Tennessee escaped while handcuffed in cruiser’s back seat

By Joe Beck

Authorities say a 15-year-old boy from Tennessee stole a Frederick County police cruiser while handcuffed and led them on a chase of several miles before crashing and damaging two other police cars Friday morning.

Capt. John Heflin of the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office said deputies arrested Ryan Santos after the crash and took him to Winchester Medical Center for treatment of non-life threatening injuries. No one else was injured in the chase, which began at Va. 37 and Cedar Creek Grade and ended 2 1/2 to three miles away at the Va. 37 and Valley Pike entrance to Kernstown Commons.

Heflin did not identify Santos, but the Montgomery County, Tennessee Sheriff’s Office issued a news release Friday that said the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office had arrested Santos.

Santos, who was later taken into custody at the Northwest Virginia Juvenile Detention Center, is facing charges in juvenile and domestic relations court related to the alleged escape, car theft and chase, Heflin said.

An adult, Kassandra Santos, 22, of Clarksville, was also arrested and held without bond after Frederick County law enforcement officials learned she was wanted by Tennessee authorities.

It was the second time in a week that Ryan Santos has been accused of escaping from custody.

Santos is wanted by authorities in the Clarksville, Tennessee area on a long list of alleged offenses, including incidents involving a shooting, burglary and escape.

Santos is one of two juveniles who jumped from the back window of a van Thursday as authorities in Montgomery County were transporting them from a court hearing back to a juvenile jail, according to official accounts on the Facebook page of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities were able to recapture the other juvenile, but Santos remained at large until Friday morning. Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office officials said Santos was still handcuffed and in shackles when he allegedly escaped.

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office has accused Santos of being involved in a drive by shooting in the Clarksville area Monday. Charges against him include aggravated burglary, possession of a weapon, six counts of reckless endangerment, aggravated assault and escape.

Heflin said Frederick County received a teletype warning from Montgomery County around 7:50 a.m. Friday that Santos was in the area.

Deputies saw a vehicle at about 9:08 a.m. on Va. 37 that they suspected was carrying Santos inside.

Deputies stopped the vehicle, identified Santos with four adults inside, and handcuffed the juvenile behind the back, Heflin said. Santos was placed in a police cruiser.

The arresting deputy went to help deputies with the other occupants of the vehicle. Shortly thereafter, Santos, while still handcuffed, drove off in the police cruiser on Va. 37, Heflin said.

Heflin said authorities believe Santos managed to move his handcuffs from his back to the front of his body by curling up in a ball, bending his knees up to his chest and pulling the cuffs up around his feet and knees.

“We feel he did that and after doing so, he climbed into the driver’s seat and took off,” Heflin said.

Deputies assisted by Virginia State Police pursued the stolen cruiser for up to three miles before using what Heflin described as a “pit maneuver” that boxed Santos in, Heflin said.

A pit maneuver is a technique in which a pursuing vehicle bumps another vehicle to force the driver of the lead vehicle to spin, lose control and stop.

“He went up over a concrete median, and he came to a rest, and there police surrounded him,” Heflin said of Santos. “He had no place else to go.”

Heflin said the stolen police cruiser, a Virginia State Police car and a Frederick County Sheriff’s Office car all collided at the crash scene.

No information was available on whether Kassandra Santos is related to Ryan Santos.

Jamie Dexter, public information officer for the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, said it is unknown why Ryan Santos and those with him traveled from Tennessee to the Winchester area.

“We believe he had accomplices who helped get him to where he was,” Dexter said of Ryan Santos.

Dexter said he expects Ryan Santos will remain in Virginia to face charges from Friday’s arrest before he is extradited back to Tennessee.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com