Law enforcement chased a repeat auto theft suspect twice Thursday, catching him the second time after he nearly hit an officer, authorities said.
About 11:30 a.m., investigators from the Stanislaus County Auto Theft Task Force saw the suspect in a stolen 1998 Honda Civic at the McDonald’s at 2000 W. Main St., said StanCATT investigator Derrek Brackett.
The investigators attempted to block the suspect, later identified as Daniel Torres, 27, of Modesto, as he left the McDonald’s drive-through, but Torres drove over a curb and headed for the freeway.
He drove south on Highway 99 at speeds in excess of 100 mph, then exited on Lander Avenue and headed west.
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Brackett said investigators chased him along country roads in the west county at speeds of 80 to 90 mph. Ceres police joined the pursuit in the area of Keyes and Crows Landing roads. The California Highway Patrol joined as well.
The Honda headed toward Modesto by way of Hatch Road, where Ceres police twice tried to stop it by hitting the back of it, known as a pursuit intervention technique, or PIT maneuver.
The maneuver was unsuccessful and Torres continued toward town. He ran over spike strips west of Carpenter Road, which deflated the left front tire, Brackett said. The suspect nearly hit the CHP officer who laid down the spike strips, he said.
With a flat tire, Torres continued west on Hatch, then entered a south Modesto neighborhood near Ustick Road.
The 30-minute pursuit ended when the driver stopped the car in the 1800 block of Ironside Drive and he and a passenger ran away, Brackett said.
They ran through a field, then swam across a Modesto Irrigation District canal and started jumping residential fences.
A Sheriff’s Department canine was used to search for the suspects. Torres was found hiding in the back yard of a home near Ustick and Glenn Avenue, Brackett said.
Authorities continued to search for the passenger with the help of the CHP helicopter but the individual was not found.
Torres was arrested on suspicion of auto theft, felony evading arrest and assault of a police officer.
The Honda Torres was driving had been stolen in Ceres early Thursday. Hours before that, Brackett said, Modesto police were involved in a pursuit with Torres in another stolen car.