Misdemeanor Probation Violation Quickly Becomes Felony Escape

By Carlos Padilla


It takes determination to take a misdemeanor offense and turn it into a felony charge, but as initially reported in the Wednesday, Sept. 24 edition of The Herald (Vol. 86, No. 11), that’s precisely what 27-year-old Rueben Stokes of the 1300-block South Copper Street in Truth or Consequences accomplished when he attempted to escape from officials while handcuffed late Monday evening, Sept. 22.

Truth or Consequences Police Department (TCPD) Detective James Harrington, in a criminal complaint filed in Sierra County Magistrate Court on Sept. 24, reports that he and Detective George Lee observed two individuals sitting in a vehicle near the intersection of South Clancy and West Van Patten streets at approximately 11:30 p.m., Monday.

The passenger in the vehicle, later identified as Mr. Stokes, admitted that he had consumed alcohol on that date, and further stated that he was on conditions of release from the Seventh Judicial District Court.

Mr. Stokes’ presumed level of intoxication was later determined to be .11 at the local police department.

TCPD Officer Gary Richins transported Stokes from the police department to the local jail and opened the door of the backseat to his patrol unit when Mr. Stokes reportedly shoved the door open and fled on foot from the area still handcuffed. Stokes had manipulated the handcuffs to being located in front of him as he fled from officials.

Detective Harrington tackled Stokes and walked him back to the entrance of the Sierra County Detention Center.

During his attempt to escape custody, Mr. Stokes reportedly caused Officer Richins to fall to the ground. Officer Richins fell forward onto the pavement of the jail’s parking lot, and sustained several injuries that required medical attention.

Stokes was charged with a fourth-degree felony count of escape from custody of a police officer and a criminal count of obstructing, resisting or evading a police officer.

Had he not attempted to escape custody, Stokes would have been charged with a misdemeanor count of violating his conditions of release.


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