Stanislaus County sheriff takes lead in south Modesto car chase, arrest of two teen suspects

12/05/2013 12:52 PM

12/05/2013 7:29 PM

Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson has plenty of administrative duties but says he helps out his deputies on patrol whenever he can. He pitched in Thursday morning, chasing down a stolen car through south Modesto and directing deputies to help capture two suspects from Merced.

“If I’m in between meetings, I try to help out on patrol,” Christianson said. “If my deputies can be out there doing this, so can I.”

The sheriff said he was on his way to a meeting about 8:15 a.m. Thursday when he spotted a speeding car heading west on East Hatch Road. Christianson was driving his department-issued unmarked car, which is equipped with all the necessary patrol equipment such as sirens and strobes.

The Honda Civic, which sheriff’s officials later discovered was reported stolen in Modesto overnight, made a turn on Crows Landing Road, they said. The sheriff said the car was moving so fast that when the driver slammed on the brakes to make the turn onto northbound Crows Landing Road, the car’s wheels locked as the Civic skidded through the turn.

Christianson said he turned on his patrol lights, but the car did not stop. He said the Civic then turned east onto Rio Grande Avenue before turning north on Alamo Avenue. The driver lost control while trying to turn on Broadway Avenue and the car crashed through a small metal fence and struck the side of a house, Christianson said.

The sheriff said a passenger was trapped inside the car, and deputies who’d been called to the scene quickly took him into custody. The passenger was a 16-year-old male from Merced. He was arrested on suspicion of violating probation.

The driver ran from the crashed Civic into the neighborhood, Christianson said, and the sheriff radioed deputies to establish a perimeter around the area and seal off the block. As the deputies searched for the driver, a resident called dispatchers to report that someone was trying to get into his home.

The deputies’ yard-to-yard search narrowed, and Christianson said he saw the person jump out of a doghouse in a home’s backyard in the 1100 block of Alamo Avenue. The sheriff said the male ran toward the home’s back door, but the resident inside stopped him.

A brief struggle ensued between the male and the resident, Christianson said. He radioed his deputies and directed them to jump the home’s fence and enter through the front door to protect the resident. The deputies then quickly took the person into custody without further incident.

The person suspected of being the driver of the Civic was a 17-year-old from Merced. He was arrested on suspicion of vehicle theft, evading sheriff’s officials, possessing stolen property and violating probation.

Because both suspects are minors, sheriff’s officials did not release their names. There were no reported injuries in the incident.

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