A 17-year-old Ceres runaway led police on a 90 mph chase on country roads Sunday evening before he was apprehended after crashing in an orchard, authorities said.
Ceres police are investigating the chase, which started as a domestic dispute between the teenager and his mother.
Police were called at 6:30 p.m. Sunday for a report of a son assaulting his mother. The family told police he had left the house and, without permission, took the family car, which then was reported stolen.
The day before, the teen had been reported to police as a runaway. His name is not being released, nor is his mother's, because he is a juvenile, Ceres police Sgt. Dennis Perry said.
About 11 p.m. Sunday, a Ceres officer found the stolen white Ford Focus at Central Avenue and Industrial Way. The 17-year-old was driving and had two passengers, police said. The officer attempted to pull over the vehicle, but the driver fled.
The driver then led police on a chase that lasted more than 15 minutes and reached speeds of 90 mph. The Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department helicopter joined the pursuit.
Police cruisers lost sight of the vehicle when it drove into an orchard off Keyes Road. But the helicopter pilot found it again and told officers on the ground that the car apparently struck a house, Perry said. It turned out that the car hit a tree near the house.
A Ceres officer ran into the road to apprehend the car's occupants, but the driver steered the vehicle toward him and attempted to flee again. The officer fired his service weapon to defend himself but did not hit the car, said Sgt. Jose Berber. The officer was able to get out of the path of the car, and the pursuit continued.
Police then used a maneuver hitting a suspect's car to disable it to stop the chase near Sperry Road and Whitmore Avenue. After police struck the car, it spun into an orchard and hit a tree.
Berber said the occupants ran into the orchard. The 17-year-old driver and a 17-year-old female passenger were apprehended.
A third occupant fled and was not found. Police said they are searching for the third person in the car but did not provide a description.
The 17-year-old driver faces felony charges. His female passenger was cited and released. There were no other reports of injuries or property damage.
Five units each from the Sheriff's Department and Ceres police were involved in the pursuit.
Upon further investigation, officers learned that the day before, the 17-year-old reportedly assaulted his father, who required treatment for his injuries at a hospital. He was reported to police as a runaway at that time.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Stanislaus Area Crime Stoppers at (866) 602-7463.
Bee staff writer Marijke Rowland can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2284.