Inmate escapes Santa Barbara County Jail, caught by K-9

Santa Barbara County Jail


An inmate escaped the Santa Barbara County Main Jail Tuesday evening, but was tracked down shortly afterwards and caught by a K-9.

On Saturday, Santa Barbra police booked Nicholas Erickson, 26, in jail on charges of burglary, vandalism, vehicle theft, loitering, obstruction, grand theft and committing a crime while released on bail, as well as on several outstanding warrants for theft and elder abuse charges. Erickson, of Santa Barbara, originally had his bail set at $150,000.

At about 6:50 p.m. Tuesday, Erickson escaped from jail. Custody deputies immediately locked down the jail and notified patrol deputies of the escape. 

Deputies, including two K-9 teams, arrived in the area of the jail and began searching within minutes. Deputies set up a perimeter and requested a response from Santa Barbara County Air Support. 

Air support personnel then flew overhead in a Cessna 206 airplane and coordinated with deputies on the ground. While they were searching, a resident in the 4600 block of Sierra Madre Road reported seeing a suspicious person in the area. 

Deputies closed in on the area, and the Cessna tracked Erickson as he made his way through brush toward Oak Glen Drive. Deputy Phillip Farley and his K-9, Odin, then encountered Erickson.

Erickson did not comply with verbal commands. He attempted to flee toward Oak Glen Drive. 

Farley released Odin, who tumbled down a hill and fell 8 to 10 feet onto a sidewalk. But, the K-9 managed to apprehend Erickson in the 4500 block of Oak Glen Drive.

Deputies re-arrested Erickson at 8:20 p.m. Erickson received medical treatment for minor injuries sustained during his escape, as well as from his capture. 

Odin was taken to a veterinary hospital in the area. The K-9 received treatment for a leg injury and is expected to recover. 

Deputies re-booked Erickson in the Main Jail on additional charges on escape, obstruction and harming a police dog. Erickson is being held with his bail set at $200,000.

Custody deputies are conducting an investigation into the escape. The method of escape and details that compromise jail security will not be released, sheriff’s officials said.