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Escondido police, fire get stinging surprise after suspect’s vehicle disturbs wasp nest

Several Escondido police and firefighters discovered a stinging surprise early Tuesday when they went to check on a suspect’s car after it rolled into a tree off Interstate 15 — and found it had disturbed a wasp nest.

Police had been called around 12:20 a.m. about a possible restraining order violation after a man reportedly kicked in the door of his girlfriend’s apartment, said Escondido police Sgt. Mike Graesser.

When officers arrived, they saw the suspect leaving in his vehicle. They tried to pull the car over, but he kept driving.

The man headed north on I-15 and pulled onto the shoulder of the freeway just south of El Norte Parkway. That’s when he jumped from the moving car, which came to rest against a tree.

Police later realized the car had disturbed what was described as a “fairly large” wasp nest, launching a swarm of the angry insects — which, unlike bees, can sting multiple times.

Several officers and firefighters were stung but eventually were able to move the vehicle back onto the road to be towed, Graesser said.

The suspect ran off. A sheriff’s helicopter assisted in the search for the man, who was arrested after a foot pursuit.

A sheriff’s crew member, seeing police and firefighters stripping off gear to get away from the stinging insects, reportedly asked on the radio why the first responders were “dancing,” Graesser said.

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