Fugitive arrested in Nevada County after allegedly assaulting cop

A man wanted for allegedly ramming a police cruiser in Southern California, injuring an officer, was arrested Sunday afternoon in Nevada County by the U.S. Marshals.

Federal agents had been looking for Andrew Christian Stewart, 25, since a March 3 incident in Buena Park.

A Buena Park Police officer was in a vehicle pursuit with a stolen vehicle that Stewart was allegedly driving. During the pursuit, the vehicle driven by Stewart ended up on a dead-end street.

Stewart, having nowhere to go, turned the vehicle around and allegedly accelerated at the officer, who was exiting his police cruiser. The officer jumped back into the patrol vehicle, and Stewart allegedly rammed the driver’s side door of the vehicle, slightly injuring the officer. The officer was able to continue following Stewart; the stolen vehicle was found a short time later, but Stewart had vanished. The officer was later transported and released at a local area hospital with minor injuries.

According to the Buena Park Police Department, Stewart was a known narcotics user and, during the course of this investigation, had been arrested two months earlier by Orange Police officers for a weapons offense. During the time of that arrest, he allegedly was in possession of a loaded firearm.

The U.S. Marshals adopted the case to help locate and arrest Stewart, said Marshal Frank Newsom. The fugitive task force’s Los Angeles Division received information that Stewart might have fled to Nevada County to hide out, and that information was passed on to the Sacramento division to help locate Stewart.

Buena Park Police detectives said they had no idea why Stewart chose to flee to Nevada County; Newsom speculated it was due to the remoteness of the area.

“He might have thought he’d be safe up in the hills,” Newsom said.

Investigators followed up leads and conducted surveillance in the Nevada County area, then received a tip on the whereabouts, Newsom said.

Deputy U.S. Marshals, Nevada County Sheriff’s deputies and a California Highway Patrol K-9 unit went to a residence on Cone Tree Trail, off Squirrel Creek Road Sunday. The residence was surrounded, and two women exited, but Stewart failed to surrender.

Deputy U.S. Marshals and Task Force Officers entered the residence with a CHP police K-9 to search for Stewart. Shortly into the search, the K-9 alerted to someone hiding in a dirt hole in the basement of the residence. The police K-9 was used to apprehend Stewart, and he was taken into custody without further incident.

Stewart was taken to a local hospital, and after being cleared, he was booked into the Nevada County Jail to await extradition to Southern California. He was being held in lieu of $70,000 bail.

To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, email lkellar@theunion.com or call 530-477-4229.


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The Union Updated Mar 19, 2013 09:03AM Published Mar 23, 2013 02:19AM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.