Drainage Tunnel Escapee Named


NBCDFW has learned the name of a Union Pacific Railroad police officer who went on a profanity-laced tirade after nabbing a once-caught and handcuffed driver, as well as the name of that driver who sought refuge in a muddy drainage ditch and allegedly used a stolen ID at the time of his arrest.

The officer, whose name is Josh Phillips, was still on paid administrative leave Sunday night following the arrest early Friday morning, a Union Pacific Spokesperson said.

The incident has sparked a lot of talk from posters on NBCDFW.com, both for and against Phillips.

The person arrested Friday, Manlio Salazar, 19, was handcuffed by a state trooper responding to a report of a car that needed assistance on Stemmons Freeway near the American Airlines Center. Salazar, while still handcuffed, broke free and fled on foot -- eventually taking cover in the large drain, authorities said.

After about 30 minutes, Salazar was located in the tunnel by Phillips. The driver had slipped his handcuffs underneath his body and had his arms back in front of him.

He then tried to flee for a second time, but wasn't successful. The railroad cop triumphed, and the motorist was handily dressed down as he was dragged from the gritty, dark tunnel.

Photojournalist Terry Van Sickle shot footage of the officer first entering the drain with his gun drawn and the man's eventual recapture. Van Sickle also caught the railroad officer verbally assaulting Salazar and even threatening to kill him if he had a weapon.

Union Pacific maintains its agent used "inappropriate language."

"We apologize to anyone who may have been offended by the agent's language," the company said Friday in a statement.

Union Pacific said it will take "appropriate action" if it finds the officer violated company policy.

Phillips could not be reached for comment Sunday.

Salazar has since bonded out of jail after facing charges of felony escape and DFW, troopers said.

The Department of Public Safety originally identified the driver as Enrique Franco. That's because Salazar had a stolen ID on him when he was arrested.

His mother, Tina Soto, said she had doubts for a split second after hearing about the arrest of Enrique Franco and asked her son if he had snuck out of the house.

"I was in shock. I didn't know what to think," she said.

Soto said Salazar stopped by their Garland home Saturday to apologize. Soto said Salazar told her and Franco he had three ID's on him when he was arrested. Salazar told them authorities used Franco's ID because he most favored Salazar.

Once in jail, officials were able to figure out Salazar's real name using a fingerprint database.

Soto said Salazar gave her his phone number and the address of the apartment in Dallas where he lives with his sister.

NBCDFW attempted to contact Salazar Sunday evening. Someone with a male voice picked up the phone and could be heard saying, "It's NBC 5 calling. I don't think I should talk to them unless…" before the phone disconnected.

NBCDFW's Frank Heinz and Ashanti Blaize contributed to this report.

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