Eugene police release new information on in-custody injury investigation

Eugene police said a man was critically injured while being transported to University District hospital for medical evaluation.

Posted: Jan 31, 2019 9:57 PM
Updated: Feb 1, 2019 10:50 PM

UPDATE: Police have provided additional details about an incident that left 34-year-old Michael Sanchez in critical condition early Wednesday morning.

Police said after they arrested Sanchez, he began banging his head on the pavement. Officers then forced him to stop and put him in the back of their police car.

According to police, Sanchez then began kicking at them and officers placed a flexible restraint device around his ankles.

Police said the officers noted the man's injuries and left to take him to the hospital for a routine health inspection without buckling him in. That is allowed by a Eugene Police policy, stating officers don't have to use a seat belt on a prisoner if officers believe that doing so could cause harm to the prisoner or the officers themselves.

While they were driving to the hospital, officers said Sanchez was moving and rolling around in the back seat, inverting himself at one point so that his feet were on the roof of the car.

During that time, police said Sanchez was able to get out of his flexible restraint and ended up in the floorboard of the vehicle.

According to police, when officers arrived at the hospital, they realized that Sanchez's shirt ended up over his head, hiding the fact that a seatbelt in the back seat was wrapped around his neck.

Sanchez was resuscitated at University District Hospital, where he is currently being treated for his injuries.

This is an ongoing investigation. Stay with KEZI 9 News for the latest information.


EUGENE, Ore. -- A man is in the hospital after police found him unresponsive in the back seat of a patrol car following his arrest on Wednesday morning.

Police and fire crews were called out to the Coastal Farm and Home Supply on 6th Street in Eugene around 5:20 a.m. on Wednesday for a report of a fire in front of the store.

Once fire crews put out the fire and police arrived on the scene, they were told the suspect was still in the area.

Police said they located the man and followed him to the Highway 99 overpass, where they arrested him without incident.

According to police, after he was placed in handcuffs he then began kicking at officers. They then put a flexible restraint device on his ankles and put him in the back seat of a patrol car without buckling him in.

Police said that a Eugene Police policy allows officers to not buckle in a prisoner when doing so could harm the person or the officer attempting to secure the prisoner with a seat belt.

Officers then noted the man's prior injuries and left to take him to University District Hospital for a routine evaluation.

During their transport, police said the man slipped out of the flexible restraints and was moving around in the back seat.

Once they arrived at the hospital, police said they found the man to be unresponsive. He was resuscitated at the hospital and is being treated for his injuries.

Police won't be releasing the man's identity until his family has been notified about what happened.

The Eugene Police Investigations Division is currently looking into what happened to the man.

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