Linda Mumma reporting


FRESNO (CBS13) — The search is on for a Modesto man accused of driving into two separate crowds of people near Beard Brook Park last week and injuring four people.

Modesto Police say 29-year-old Israel Bazan of Modesto “walked away” from a hospital in Fresno before undergoing surgery for a head injury.

Bazan is suspected of hitting four people on January 29th in the parking lot and on the road on just outside of the park.

Witnesses told CBS13 last week, Bazan appeared to have hit two of the victims on purpose.

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“He pulled up and revved his motor at me down here at the end of the street and it was like he wanted me to know,” said witness Channon Meyers.

Police said one woman suffered moderate injuries while the three other people suffered minor injuries.

“He was just doing circles with a high-speed chase, said Meyers. “Another truck came out and chasing him around. Throwing bottles and stuff. The last time he came through he hit a girl right there and couldn’t negotiate the hairpin and hit the bank.”

Police say Bazan crashed into a pole and fence just outside of the park and was detained by witnesses until officers arrived.

“There was a little bit of a mob and they (the group) rolled out and beat him up really good,” said Meyers.

Modesto police spokesperson Sharon Bear said Bazan suffered a head injury, but didn’t know if it was the result of the crash or from when witnesses held him down.

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He was taken to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno to have surgery before being booked into the Stanislaus County Jail.

“Medical Staff at the hospital allowed him to step outside to have a cigarette and he never returned,” said Bear.

Police believe Bazan had been missing for about two hours when they learned of his disappearance.

“I don’t know when they (hospital staff) noticed that, but when our detective arrived Friday morning to interview him, he was gone,” said Bear.

CBS13 wanted to know why a police officer wasn’t stationed outside of Bazan’s hospital room door? We were told the suspect needs to be medically cleared by the jail before he’s booked.

Since he required to have surgery, police said he was taken to the hospital. The department said, due to the extent of his head injury, he wasn’t expected to walk away.

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We also asked the hospital whether its staff knew Bazan was a suspect in a case. A spokesperson told us, Bazan didn’t have a police escort – therefore he was treated like a regular patient.

A warrant has been issued for his arrest on two counts of attempted murder. Police believe Bazan may return to Modesto so officers are asking the public to be on the lookout.

If you have any information on his whereabouts, they ask you to call Crime Stoppers and say you can remain anonymous.

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