Handcuffed suspect briefly escapes from Denver Police

DENVER - A handcuffed prisoner briefly escaped from Denver police on Friday morning -- the second time in two days a handcuffed suspect has escaped police custody.

In the Friday incident, Denver Police spokeswoman Raquel Lopez said officers arrested 29-year-old Raymond Quintana, who was wanted on outstanding arrest warrants for domestic violence and eluding police.

Officers handcuffed Quintana's hands behind his back and placed him in the backseat of a squad car. Yet, while in the backseat, the flexible suspect was able to shift his cuffed hands from behind his back, under his legs and to his front, Lopez said.

As the patrol car entered the parking lot for District 3 substation, at 1624 S. University Blvd., the prisoner leaped out the back door of the car. He ran around the station, crossed a drainage ditch and scrambled down a steep embankment into the high reeds of a small wetland area next to the University Avenue on-ramp to Interstate 25.   

On a police radio traffic recording, an officer was breathing hard as he radioed for assistance while running after the man.

"Slipped his cuffs to the front, I'm behind the station," the officer radioed, according to the Broadcastify.com recording. The arrestee was running "along the drainage ditch behind the station," the officer said.

But officers never lost sight of Quintana and soon rearrested him at gunpoint, Lopez said.

Police said they were checking to see if the child-safety locks for the patrol car's back doors -- that are supposed to prevent such escapes -- were engaged.

Quintana was booked into the downtown jail on investigation of escape, drug possession, possession of a weapon by a previous offender and violation of a custody order. He's being held without bond.

Quintana has a history of violent crime and escaping from police. At age 17, he was arrested in Arapahoe County on charges of robbery and assault causing serious bodily injury, court records state. Prosecutors also filed a sentence-enhancement charge of violent crime against an at-risk victim. He pleaded guilty to the felony assault charge and was sentenced to five years in the Department of Corrections.

Meanwhile, a convicted sexual predator remains at large after slipping handcuffs securing him to a bench in a room at Denver Police headquarters on Wednesday afternoon and strolling out of the building without officers noticing.

Police are still searching for the fugitive, Eugene Felix Martinez, 48, on Friday.

In the Martinez escape, Denver police said police confusion during the rush to find the man caused a 90-minute delay in sending out a radio bulletin asking area law enforcement agencies to look out for fugitive sex offender.

Initially, a police official indicated the 911 dispatch center might have been responsible for the delay in the be-on-the-lookout bulletin. But Denver Police spokesman Lt. Matt Murray made clear on Thursday that police -- not the communications center -- made the mistake.

Murray said here's how the error happened:

-- At 12:18 p.m. Wednesday, Martinez somehow slipped out of handcuffs securing him to a bench in a first-floor room of police headquarters and he walked out of building to freedom. Officers had earlier arrested the man for failing to register as a sex offender.

-- About six minutes after the escape, police realized the prisoner was gone and several officers launched a search inside and outside the police department for the fugitive. In the rush to find Martinez, officers incorrectly assumed someone had alerted 911 dispatch to send out the BOLO bulletin on the escape.

-- Ninety minutes after the escape, police realized that communications had not been informed and asked dispatchers to send out the bulletin.

Police are asking people along the Front Range to call 911 if they spot Maritinez. Denver Police have also contacted news organizations in Pueblo, where Martinez has also lived, asking them to publicize the search for the fugitive.

Martinez is approximately 5-foot-5 and weighs about 120 pounds. He has a scar on his forehead and a tattoo on his chest of a guitar with wings and the name "Diane." When he escaped, he was wearing a black zip-up hoodie and black jeans, with blue sweat pants under the jeans.

Police are offering a $2,000 reward for anyone who can help find Martinez.

Denver Police warn that Martinez has a violent criminal history that includes convictions for child sexual assault in both Pueblo and Denver dating to 1994.