Inmate who escaped from van at Todd Road Jail recaptured

October 23, 2013
Santa Paula News

By Peggy Kelly 

Santa Paula Times 

The inmate who escaped from a van transporting him to Todd Road Jail Thursday was recaptured about 12 hours later when he was found on the grounds of the approximately 154-acre property.

According to a Ventura County Sheriff’s Department spokesman, Reynel Rios, 33, of Thousand Oaks, had just been sentenced two hours earlier to 240 days in the jail for misdemeanor possession of a fake driver’s license. Rios jumped from the courthouse transportation van around 5 p.m. October 17 just as the vehicle entered the jail property off Telegraph and Todd roads, about 2 1/2 miles west of Santa Paula. 

When Rios bolted from the van a widespread search was initiated and area residents received a VC Alert notification that advised them to make sure their homes were secure and to report anything suspicious.

According to VCSD Capt. Don Aguilar, “A perimeter was established and a coordinated search was conducted,” that lasted for hours and included patrol deputies, jail deputies, Sheriff’s K-9’s, a Search & Rescue bloodhound, Sheriff’s helicopters, and deputies from several specialized units who looked for Rios in the orchards and the Santa Clara River bed. Roads were closed on and off during the search that at one point caused a brief shutdown of Highway 126 when it was used for crossing by search teams. 

The search was scaled back Thursday about 9:45 p.m., according to Aguilar, a spokesman for the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office.

Nevertheless, personnel continued to search throughout Thursday night and into Friday morning reportedly from the jail facility to Ventura and from the Santa Clara River to Foothill Road.

Rios was recaptured around 5:10 a.m. Friday not far from the location where he escaped on jail grounds near the entrance to the facility. 

Although Rios’ 240-day jail sentence was reduced by 94 days credit for time already served plus good time-work time credits he now faces even more jail time for the escape. Rios also faces deportation as an illegal immigrant.

The incident was the first escape related to the Todd Road Jail, which was completed in the mid-1990s. 

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