Molestation suspect escapes at hospital

A county jail inmate who escaped from Valley Medical Center this afternoon after he allegedly fought with and injured a deputy was arrested last year on suspicion of child molestation, a Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office spokesman said Friday.

Johnell Carter, 40, has been in jail since March 2014 in connection with five counts of child molestation, according to Sgt. James Jensen. At 1:23 p.m., deputies received a report of an inmate who injured a deputy in a fight and was last seen fleeing near the intersection of Thornton Way and Moorpark Avenue in the northwest edge of the medical center, Jensen said.

UPDATE 3/14: $6K reward for escaped inmate’s capture.

The inmate, later identified as Carter, had been transported for medical treatment and either after or during his treatment he clashed with the deputy and ran away, Jensen said. Carter is described as an African-American male, 5 feet 11 inches tall, weighing 220 pounds with a shaved head and the word “Alice” tattooed on his neck and wearing a jail-issued green shirt and pants, sheriff’s Sgt. James Jensen said.

The search currently involves 45 sheriff’s deputies, three police canine units, helicopters from the sheriff’s office and the California Highway Patrol and San Jose police, Jensen said. Sheriff’s deputies have blocked traffic on Moorpark Avenue from South Monroe Street to Ginger Lane, which runs south through the grounds of the medical center, Jensen said.

Contrary to some reports, there have been no lockdowns as a result of the search, Jensen said. The California Highway Patrol is taking part in the search for Carter, he said. The deputy who was in the fight is being treated for non-life threatening injuries, he said.