The Cochise County Sheriff’s Office was contacted by a man in Sierra Vista on Sunday December 30, 2018 at approximately 1:00 pm, who reported that someone was attempting to steal his vehicle from the Canyon Drive area.
According to the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office, deputies responded and talked to 53 year old Paul William Otanez who claimed that he saw three male subjects attempting to steal his vehicle near his apartment. Mr. Otanez said that the suspects may have jumped over the back fence to get away,
However Deputies were not able to locate any subjects and saw no indication that anyone had been in the back area due to the snow on the ground being undisturbed. Deputies told Otanez that they would be checking the surrounding area for any suspicious subjects before they left and began patrolling the immediate neighborhood.
The Sheriff’s Office was then notified at approximately 2:00 pm, about a hit and run at the Canyon Drive location where the caller stated a male subject in a blue SUV ran into a block wall causing serious damage before leaving the area. Deputies returned to the residence and determined that the driver was Otanez who had left the area eastbound.
The Sheriff’s Office was then notified at approximately 2:08 pm, of a blue SUV driving erratically in the parking lot of Canyon Vista Medical Center before leaving at a high rate of speed toward Justice Court #5 on Colonia De Salud.
Sheriff’s Office Detention personnel reported seeing a blue SUV crash through a locked gate behind Justice Court #5 before driving over the sidewalk and curb and smashing into the Sheriff’s Office building, according to the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office.
The driver was visually identified by deputies as he fled through the broken gate and back to Highway 90 at a high rate of speed, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
The vehicle turned west onto the Highway before travelling back to the intersection of Highway 90 and 92, continuing west on Fry Boulevard weaving in and out of traffic and into oncoming lanes. The blue SUV was travelling on the wrong side of the roadway near Avenida Escuela when it struck a second vehicle head on. There were no serious injuries reported as a result of this accident.
Deputies and Sierra Vista Police Department Officers were able to catch up to the vehicle at the scene of the crash and take Paul Otanez into custody.
Otanez was transported to the Sierra Vista Police Department for initial processing before being booked into the Cochise County Jail on charges of:
Leaving the scene of accident criminal damage, endangerment x3, unlawful flight from law enforcement, and additional charges are pending.
This is an ongoing investigation by the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office and the Sierra Vista Police Department.