COSTA MESA ( — Officers saved a fleeing parolee from a two-story fall in Costa Mesa last week.

Police were called to a hit-and-run accident near the Segerstrom Center for the Arts around 10 p.m. Friday.

The motorist, later identified as 37-year-old Francisco Novela, of Santa Ana, allegedly crashed his truck into a palm tree before leaving the scene.

Costa Mesa police officers Jonathan Tripp and Scott Drible caught up with the suspect on a pedestrian bridge leading to South Coast Plaza.

Tripp and Drible then noticed Novela was preparing to hop over a railing.

“The suspect who is ahead of the officers on the foot bridge heading westbound apparently was unaware that the railing he was heading to had a two-story drop on the other side. The officers were familiar with the area and saw what was coming. If he made that jump, he probably would have died,” Costa Mesa police Lt. Greg Scott said.

Tripp tackled Novela just before he went over the railing.

The suspect was taken into custody. He later told authorities that he fled the scene of the collision because he’s on parole and had a prior DUI-arrest record.


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