Man turns himself in days after climbing out of Manatee deputy cruiser handcuffed & barefoot

Joel Canchola escaped from a Manatee County Sheriff's Office cruiser, previous booking photo

UPDATE: The suspect, Joel Canchola, turned himself in Monday, deputies said.

PREVIOUS STORY: BRADENTON, Fla. (WFLA) — The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office is looking for a barefoot suspect who climbed out of a squad car window while handcuffed on Saturday night.

Officials say at around 9:55 p.m., a car crashed near 5th Street Court East, and the driver and passenger took off. Deputies quickly responded and found both people. They determined the passenger, 34-year-old Joel Canchola, was wanted to violation of probation for possession of a controlled substance and for resisting arrest without violence.

He was handcuffed and placed in the back of a patrol car. Witness, Martha Zamora, was nearby and noticed the windows in the squad car were halfway open.

“He fit through that halfway window with the handcuffs in his back and he took off that way and ran,” recalled Zamora.


According to the incident report, deputies were about ten feet away talking while he escaped. The report said the back window controls were accidentally engaged, so

Canchola was able to roll down the window. Area agencies were brought in to help find him, all to no avail.

Deputies say he didn’t have any shoes on when he took off. He hasn’t been spotted since.  Zamora thought the whole incident was hilarious.

“I thought it was stupid you know, how are you gonna arrest somebody and have the windows down? If you’re gonna arrest somebody you gotta have the windows up, you never have the windows down,” she said.

“He looked like a little snail trying to fit through the window,” she chuckled.

Officials say Canchola is wanted for escape, which is a felony.

“The cops were there talking to each other, not paying attention to the car, you know? That’s what they get, they talked too much. So, he escaped. That’s their fault,” said Zamora.

The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office is not willing to comment on this case. A spokesman tells News Channel 8 that they’re searching for Canchola and they’ve launched an investigation into how he escaped.

He’s 5’4” and 140 lbs. He has brown eyes and long brown hair. Canchola was wearing a brown tank top, white/plaid shorts. He’s not considered dangerous.

If you have any information on his whereabouts, call Crime Stoppers.

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