A multi-agency investigation is being done in connection with the Thursday night death of a 54-year-old man after he was taken into police custody.
The incident began in Oakdale and ended in Escalon, as police in both cities cooperated in detaining the man wanted on suspicion of driving under the influence.
The 54-year-old man has been identified as Victor Scott Johnson of Ben Lomond, California.
Oakdale officers were originally called to a disturbance in the 200 block of North Second Avenue about 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 2. They responded to a report of a man suspected of being under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol assaulting a tow truck driver. The man then fled the scene by driving his previously loaded and partially secured pickup truck off the flatbed tow truck, driving erratically from the area.
Officers checked the area and were also alerted by a citizen who was following the truck, westbound toward Escalon along Highway 120, with the vehicle driving erratically and often going head on toward oncoming traffic.
Escalon officers were advised by OPD that the pickup truck was heading their way as they continued to check along the route. A witness directed Oakdale Police Officers into a parking lot in the area of the 2200 block of Jackson Avenue, Escalon. When the officers contacted the driver in the parking lot he became uncooperative, physically resisted, and struggled with arresting officers. Once he was in custody, officers recognized he was unconscious. Officers immediately requested an ambulance to respond as they attempted to awaken the man. Fire and EMS personnel arrived and rendered medical aid. The man was transported to an area hospital via ambulance but was later pronounced dead.
As a result of the in-custody death, a multi-agency investigative protocol is being utilized by the Oakdale Police Department, Escalon Police Department, and San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office to investigate the incident, with the San Joaquin District Attorney’s Office providing an overall review of the incident.
The Oakdale Police Department is also conducting an administrative review. All Oakdale Police Officers are equipped with Axon Flex Body Worn Cameras which were activated during this incident and will assist in providing a thorough investigation and review.
An autopsy has been scheduled to determine the cause of death.