1 arrested in high-speed chase

Sun-Star StaffJune 21, 2014 

A high-speed chase involving a suspected drunken driver ended Saturday night in Merced with one man in custody facing possible felony charges, the California Highway Patrol reported.

No one was injured, said Officer Moises Onsurez, who was one of the officers involved in the chase.

The suspected driver, 24-year-old Jose Vargas of San Jose, was arrested around 7:30 p.m. in the 200 block of West 18th Street in Merced on suspicion of evading police – a felony – and driving under the influence of alcohol. His suspected blood-alcohol level was not immediately available.

The car chase reached speeds of more than 100 mph and covered more than 20 miles.

The pursuit began in the area of Highway 152 and Willis Road, outside Dos Palos, and ended near West 18th Street and Martin Luther King Way in Merced, authorities reported.

Los Banos CHP officers spotted a gold Chevrolet Impala at 7:18 p.m. traveling about 105 mph east on Highway 152 at Willis Road, officers said.

The driver, later identified by authorities as Vargas, did not stop when officers turned on their emergency lights and sirens, the CHP said.

The officers pursued the Impala north on Highway 59 through El Nido and into the Merced city limits, Onsurez said.

Merced police laid a spike strip across Highway 59 at West Childs Avenue. The spikes blew out two tires on the driver’s side of the vehicle, but the suspect continued driving on the rims past the Merced County Fairgrounds, the CHP said.

The driver continued under the Highway 99 overpass before eventually pulling to the curb in the 200 block of West 18th Street, where he was taken into custody.

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