Police find man in drainage ditch after his naked rampage

Police find man in drainage ditch after his naked rampage. (From video courtesy of Tony Knick)

Nina Johns wasn’t sure what was going on, when she saw a half-dressed man running down the middle of busy Route 28 in the bitter cold Tuesday.

“I see a man walking between cars,” she recalls. “And I’m thinking there’s been an accident, and he needs help.”

There was an accident, all right.

But it was only the beginning.

Minutes before, Fairfax County dispatchers were getting the word out: “We have a lot of calls coming in for what originated as a three vehicle accident. There’s two males fighting in the roadway.”

Police identified one of the two men as Jose Gonzalez Flores.

Authorities say moments after ramming his pickup into two vehicles, the 32-year-old Sterling man started walking and running around shirtless, along the roadway.

Cell phone video taken by another driver shows Gonzalez Flores punching one of the other drivers through a side window in his truck.

He jumped down, and walked within feet of Johns’ car, pulled over to the side of the road.

“He walks past my car, punches my door with the side of his hand, and he's got something else in his other hand,” she says.

That something else, turned out to be a kind of cutting tool.

But instead of getting back into his pickup, Gonzalez Flores made a beeline for the roadside.

“Then I think he’s going to get back into his truck,” Johns says. “Instead he climbs over the barrier and gets undressed, and comes back into traffic buck naked.”

Johns was one of numerous drivers to call 911, as Gonzalez Flores weaved his way through the rush hour traffic wearing only his socks.

“You can clearly tell that nobody suspected or thought there'd be somebody who disrobed himself in the middle of route 28,” says Officer Kent Bailey, a Fairfax County Police Spokesperson.

“Clearly he was not in his right mind, and so then it became keeping everybody from running him over, and then getting him to not injure anybody else,” she says. “He was babbling, always smiling. Babbling, praying. At any given point, nothing seemed to make sense. He wasn't hearing us.”

“One of the subjects now has no clothes on, and he is running against the guardrail,” dispatchers radioed out. “He’s banging on other vehicles.”

More cell phone video shows Gonzales Flores jumping onto a moving flatbed tow truck, then hitting the cab with the cutting tool, smashing one window.

“Anybody he set his eyes on, he got physical with,” Johns says. “He would break their windows, or punch them, he was very, very aggressive.”

Police say the tow driver was able to stop safely, and Gonzalez Flores ran off.

His rampage, and increasingly erratic behavior triggered an urgent police search by multiple agencies.

“Last seen, he was naked and he was masturbating,” one dispatcher broadcast out. “The said he did have a tire, possibly armed.”

Witnesses confirmed that Gonzalez Flores was wearing a tire around his neck.

By now, with numerous officers on the scene, a police helicopter hovering above, and canine units on the ground, parts of 28 South between Old Ox Road and Frying Pan Road, were at a standstill.

The backup lasted two hours, as an intense search moved into some woods off Route 28, close to Dulles Airport property.

“They did recover a knife with blood on it,” another dispatcher announced. “He could still be armed.”

“Calls like this can get very dangerous, not only for officers and the suspect but also for passersby who are driving on 28,” Bailey says.

Officers finally located Gonzalez Flores hiding in a drainage ditch.

But the reason for his bizarre behavior remains a mystery.

“We're not sure if he was having a medical emergency after the accident, or if possibly he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol,” Bailey explains.

Gonzalez Flores, suffering from non-life threatening injuries, is now being examined at an area hospital.

He’ll likely remain there for several days, police say.

Investigators have already obtained arrest warrants for charges that include felony hit and run, assault and battery, indecent exposure, and marijuana possession.

Gonzalez Flores won’t be served those charges until he is released from medical treatment.

Meanwhile, Johns says this was one afternoon commute she won’t soon forget.

“It was very frightening for everybody involved,” she says quietly. “Very surreal, it was like watching an episode of ‘Cops’, but in front of your window.”

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