A stolen Ford Fiesta fleeing from police crashed into two other cars, trapping three people inside at a busy Modesto intersection Wednesday.
Five vehicles were involved in the wreck at Briggsmore Avenue and Tully Road and four people were taken by ambulance to local hospitals, said Modesto police Lt. Jason Grogan.
The incident began about 1:45 p.m. when undercover officers from the Stanislaus County Auto Theft Task Force spotted the stolen Ford at Orangeburg and College avenues.
They followed it until a Modesto police officer in a marked patrol car could get behind the Ford to pull it over.
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But as soon as the driver saw the patrol car while driving south on College at Roseburg Avenue, she accelerated away at a high speed, Grogan said.
The officer initiated a pursuit but canceled it after about 15 or 20 seconds due to unsafe speeds, which the officer estimated at 80 mph.
The undercover StanCATT officers in unmarked cars tried to catch up to the Ford as it made its way to Tully Road and headed north.
Grogan said they were some distance away still when the crash occurred because all they could see was the cloud of debris when the Ford smashed into a Volkswagen Beetle headed west on Briggsmore. “Without due regard, he blew the light,” Grogan said.
The impact ripped the engine from the front of the Beetle. The engine lay in the intersection several yards from the rest of the car, which continued north with the Ford and hit a Dodge traveling south on Tully.
A Saturn and a Honda were also involved and sustained front-end damage. The Ford came to rest on its roof, between the Volkswagen and Dodge.
The woman driving the stolen Ford, 26-year-old Megan Lively; her boyfriend in the front passenger seat, 34-year-old Arthur Solis; and the back seat passenger, 37-year-old Maria Rodriguez, were all trapped inside the vehicle and had to be removed by firefighters. Who would be charged with what crimes was unavailable Wednesday night but the charges will include auto theft, possession of stolen property and evading.
Rodriguez was the last to be freed from the car and suffered the most serious injuries including a concussion.
Grogan said all of them were taken to local hospitals.
The driver of the Beetle was also taken by ambulance to a hospital as a precaution because she is pregnant. At least one other victim was taken to the hospital with minor injuries and the other drivers and passengers were treated at the scene for minor scrapes and bruises.
The intersection closed for several hours while officers investigated the crash.