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Cacti puts officer in sticky situation during foot pursuit of suspect

A Claremont Police officer was transported to the hospital early Saturday morning after falling into a planter of cacti during a foot pursuit. Police located a stolen Honda Civic driving south on Towne Avenue near Foothill Boulevard at 12:30 a.m. When officers attempted to stop the vehicle, the driver immediately pulled over and both he and the passenger got out and took off running.

The officer pursued the driver for about 300 yards before arriving at a residence in the 2900 block of Huston Street in Pomona. In the front yard of the home the police officer tackled the driver and both fell into a planter filled with cacti. The driver was able to get up and began climbing the fence of the residence. The officer was able to detain the man after he accidentally fell off a fence. By the time other officers arrived, it was clear that both the officer and the detained had suffered from multiple puncture wounds caused by embedded cactus needles. Paramedics were able to treat the driver, but the officer was transported to a nearby hospital because paramedics were not able to remove all of the thorns. The officer was treated and has since been able to return to work.

The driver, Andres Vargas, 24, of San Gabriel, was arrested for vehicle theft out of Al Hambra, as well as delaying and resisting a police officer. The passenger was never located. 

See our police blotter Saturday for updates.

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