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Escalon Police Assist With Death Investigation
Escalon Police

A Ben Lomond man died following an altercation with police and officials are awaiting formal results of an autopsy as part of an investigation in connection with case.

Victor Scott Johnson, 54, died on Thursday night, Aug. 2 at an area hospital after a scuffle with police. The incident began in Oakdale, after Johnson assaulted a tow truck driver and fled the scene in his vehicle, which had been partially loaded on the tow truck. He had been under suspicion of driving under the influence and his truck was being towed. After assaulting the tow truck driver, he drove his truck off the flatbed and left the scene in the 200 block of North Second Avenue, heading toward Escalon along Highway 120, described as driving erratically and often veering into the oncoming traffic.

Oakdale Police were dispatched to the disturbance about 8:30 p.m. on Thursday and, based on information from a citizen, pursued Johnson toward Escalon.

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 officers into a parking lot in the area of the 2200 block of Jackson Avenue, Escalon. When the officers contacted Johnson in the parking lot he reportedly became uncooperative and physically resisted the responding officers. Police and the suspect struggled, with police eventually able to take him into custody. Once Johnson was in custody, officers recognized he was unconscious and requested an ambulance to respond to the scene as they attempted to awaken him. Fire and EMS personnel arrived and rendered medical aid; Johnson was subsequently transported to an area hospital via ambulance but was later pronounced dead.

“As for the autopsy, the report has not been completed, they did make a preliminary finding, but are waiting for toxicology reports to make the final findings,” noted Escalon Police Chief Mike Borges. “Our agency, along with San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Investigators, were leads during the investigation into the criminal aspect of the incident that took place in Escalon involving the actions of all parties.”

So far, said Borges, the investigation has pointed to Johnson’s prior health issues, lifestyle and stress of the incident as being primary factors in the untimely death.

“Oakdale Police are conducting their own internal investigation regarding the actions of their personnel,” he added.

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.