Police chase down wrong suspect, find he has a warrant

SAFFORD – A Safford police officer was assisting a Thatcher police officer locate a domestic violence suspect last Friday afternoon when they spotted a man they thought was their suspect riding a bicycle down Highway 70 in Safford. The Safford officer approached the suspect to ask his name but as he pulled his patrol vehicle next to the man, the man immediately fled from the officer on his bicycle. The suspect, later identified as Olivaz Cruz, fled southbound across all four lanes of traffic on the highway and at least one vehicle had to slam on their brakes to avoid hitting him.

The two officers activated their emergency lights and sirens and pursued Cruz down 11th Avenue past Circle K. Cruz cut through an abandoned residential yard at the end of 11th Avenue. The Thatcher officer followed Cruz while the Safford officer traveled down an alley between Main Street and 7th Street. Cruz hit a fence with his bicycle and flipped over end to end. He immediately got up and started running. The Thatcher officer pursued him on foot while the Safford officer drove around and cut Cruz off as he ran toward 12th Avenue. The Safford officer exited his vehicle as Cruz turned and tried running behind a residence. The Thatcher officer pursued him from one direction while the Safford officer pursued from the other direction. When Cruz realized that he was trapped between the two officers he put his hands on top of his head and complied with the officer’s commands and was handcuffed.

When the officers asked Cruz for his name, they realized that he was not the suspect they were looking for. However, a query of Cruz’s name and information revealed a confirmed felony warrant from the Arizona Department of Corrections for a parole violation. He told the officers that he ran because he knew about the parole violation. Cruz was transported to the Graham County Jail, where he was booked on the warrant.