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Officers chase driver through orchards

ESCALON — A pursuit that started near Stockton on Monday night ended just north of the Stanislaus River when the fleeing pickup crashed and its driver escaped by swimming in the river, the California Highway Patrol reported.

Tuesday night, authorities still were looking for Glenn Hughes, said officer Angel Arceo, with the CHP in Stockton.

He said Hughes was last seen swimming away near River and Brennan roads just north of the Del Rio Country Club and west of McHenry Avenue.

CHP officials described Hughes as a white man with long hair.

Margaret Spurgeon, 43, of Manteca was a passenger in the pickup. She was treated at a hospital for minor injuries. Arceo said she was not arrested.

Hughes was driving a white Chevrolet Silverado with a blue stripe south of Stockton when the chase started about 6:30 p.m.

Arceo said a CHP officer tried to pull over Hughes for speeding and having a dog unsecured in the pickup's bed. The pickup fled, exiting at Arch Road and then moving east.

He said the pickup moved straight through a series of orchards with the CHP chasing. Arceo said the pickup would leave an orchard, cross a street and enter another orchard.

The chase moved through Ripon and then Escalon, with San Joaquin County sheriff's deputies and Ripon police joining the pursuit. "That poor dog was in the back the entire time," Arceo said.

The chase through the orchards lasted about 90 minutes with authorities unable to catch up. But a CHP helicopter and airplane kept the pickup in sight as it headed south toward the river. Near River and Brennan roads, the pickup collided with one of the CHP patrol cars.

The patrol car struck a utility pole and then an almond tree. The officer suffered minor injuries, was treated at a hospital and released, Arceo said.

He said the pickup overturned and rolled down an embankment but stopped short of the river. Spurgeon was found waiting for authorities outside the pickup.

Arceo said it was unclear if the dog was injured, but it was turned over to animal control.

Hughes jumped into the river, and officials in the CHP helicopter spotted him swimming away before they lost sight of him.

Arceo said Stanislaus County sheriff's officials searched for Hughes on the south side of the river while San Joaquin County sheriff's officials looked for him on the north side.

They gave up the search about 11 p.m.

Arceo said they believe Hughes is from Escalon and he might be hiding there.

Authorities ask anyone with information about Hughes' whereabouts to call the CHP office in Stockton at 943-8000.

Bee staff writer Rosalio Ahumada can be reached at rahumada@modbee.com or 578-2394.

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