CERES, CA - A man found stuck head-first inside a storm drain early Thursday morning said he wasn't drunk and it wasn't an accident.
Jared Medeiros, 21, claimed he was brutally attacked and robbed by gang members at the 2200 block of Hale Aloha Way. According to Medeiros, one of his attackers threw Medeiros' cell phone into the drain and Medeiros went to retrieve it to call 911 before he got stuck.
"I walked passed them and then one of them hit me from behind," said Medeiros, who said he was walking from his house in the neighborhood to his friend's up the street when four young men walked toward him throwing gang signs.
"I started fighting with one of them and then all of them were hitting and kicking me on the ground," Medeiros said.
Medeiros showed injuries to his stomach, arms, and back, which he said was mostly road rash from trying to protect himself.
Ceres police said that so far, they haven't received any statement from Medeiros.
"My head was split open and I was bleeding," Medeiros said of his worst injury. When the men left, Medeiros went to get his cellphone to call for help.
"I felt blood from my head and I started shaking, so I went for my cell," he said.
Medeiros never reached his phone and ended up getting stuck at the waist in the water-filled hole. Brianna Mooney, 16, who lives on the street, heard Medeiros screaming.
"His legs were sticking outward and he was kicking and screaming," said Mooney, who called her boyfriend.
Mooney's boyfriend called his aunt, Christina Nieves, who lives just a few houses down from Mooney.
"When I got to the window I could hear him screaming. He was really screaming loud," said Nieves, who called police.
According to Ceres police, city firefighters pulled Medeiros out of the hole and assessed his medical condition.
They claimed Medeiros was slightly intoxicated but not impaired.
Medeiros said he had been drinking, but was not drunk and that he believed the injuries to his head impaired his ability to explain to officers what happened to him.
Officers took Medeiros to his mother's home. Medeiros said he should have been taken to a hospital and should have filed a report, but he was too tired when he was taken to his mother's house.
He said he's upset officers released his name and address to the media.
"I don't know these guys," Medeiros said of the men who attacked him.
"Now they know my name, where my wife lives, where my daughter lives," he said.
Police Sgt. Yandell was not at the scene, but provided this statement:
"A report was filed based on the information the victim gave officers at the scene the night of the incident. The press release was factual based on the information they had at the time. If there is a different statement he would like to make, he is more than welcome to come down to the station to offer more information."