Pepper-spray balls force armed driver out of car after long standoff in Ceres

A standoff of several hours in Ceres on Wednesday night well into Thursday morning ended with the arrest of a Tracy man on charges that include assault with a deadly weapon on an officer.

The incident began about 9:30 p.m. in Galt when a police officer tried to pull over a Toyota sedan for a traffic violation, said Modesto-area California Highway Patrol spokesman officer Thomas Olsen.

The driver, later identified as 24-year-old Zachary Michael Price, led the Galt officer on a short pursuit before stopping. When the officer pulled up behind the Toyota, Price then backed up, ramming the patrol vehicle, Olsen said.

Price fled south on Highway 99 and Galt police asked the CHP to take over the pursuit. CHP did so as the Toyota entered San Joaquin County from Sacramento County, Olsen said.

The chase continued into Stanislaus County, where Price got off the highway at Hatch Road in Ceres. He continued east on Hatch before stopping just east of Richland Avenue.

Price, whose girlfriend was his passenger in the Toyota, refused to follow commands or get out of the car, Olsen said. The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department’s Hostage Negotiation and Special Weapons and Tactics teams were requested.

At about 4:15 a.m., SWAT officers fired pepper balls into the Toyota, Olsen said, and Price and his passenger got out.

CHP officers took him into custody without further incident. Price, who had been armed, faces felony charges of evading arrest, assault with a deadly weapon on an officer, and various drug and weapons charges, Olsen said.

After being medically cleared, Price was booked into the Stanislaus County Jail.