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Man arrested following helicopter search

ENCINITAS — A man who allegedly pushed an officer and ran, which prompted a helicopter search, was arrested outside of the Best Western hotel on Monday.

Just after 11 a.m., a Sheriff’s deputy responded to a call of four or five people smoking marijuana at Viewpoint Park, according to Sgt. Robert Niderost.

The deputy made contact with 36-year-old Encinitas resident Travis Smith, who was among the group.

Smith was allegedly aggressive toward the officer and pushed him at one point. He then fled on foot.

The deputy’s knees were scraped up during the scuffle; he didn’t suffer from any major injuries, said Niderost.

Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the scene, along with a helicopter. The pilot relayed descriptions of Smith to those in downtown Encinitas for nearly 45 minutes.

A phone call from a citizen ultimately led Sheriff’s deputies to locate Smith outside the Best Western at Encinitas Boulevard around noon, according to Niderost.

Before deputies arrived at the hotel, Smith reportedly pulled out clothes from his backpack and changed his outfit behind the Best Western, according to a witness.

Smith allegedly wouldn’t identify himself and resisted handcuffs. Ultimately, Smith was charged with evading and resisting an officer, a felony.

Deputies didn’t find any marijuana on Smith. And the deputy didn’t observe the group at Viewpoint Park smoking the substance.

A helicopter was dispatched to the area because anyone who tries to push or fight a deputy is likely a threat to the public, Niderost said. Also, the helicopter was already in the area.

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