Ceres police: Suspect threatened witness with crowbar before pursuit

The driver in a pursuit that ended in a crash in north Modesto on Wednesday afternoon had threatened a witness with a crowbar before officers tried to pull him over, Ceres police said Thursday.

The witness saw the suspects breaking into a community mailbox in the Eastgate neighborhood of Ceres, just north of Whitmore Avenue.

The witness followed the suspects as they left the area in a Toyota Yaris until they pulled over in the parking lot of La Sequoia Market on Central Avenue.

Police Sgt. Greg Yotsuya said that’s when the driver, 25-year-old Carlos Gomez of Tracy, got out of the Toyota with a crowbar, “walked to the back of the suspect car and held it up to scare off the witness that was following them.”

The witness backed off at that point but had been on the phone with a 911 dispatcher who was relaying their location to officers.

Officers arrived as the Toyota was pulling out of the market parking lot, and the pursuit ensued.

It went north into Modesto and made multiple circles through north Modesto, reaching speeds of 60 to 70 mph on thoroughfares like Standiford and Sylvan avenues, Tully Road and Claribel Road.

It ended when the suspects came upon slowed traffic and tried to go around it on Sylvan Avenue east of McHenry Avenue, police said. The front bumper of the Toyota clipped the back bumper of a bystanders’ vehicle, then collided with the right front end of a K9 officer’s vehicle.

The officer had a complaint of pain and was treated at the scene.

After being medically cleared, Gomez was arrested on suspicion of evading a peace officer causing injury, exhibiting a deadly weapon, possession of burglary tools, theft, conspiracy and vandalism.

The passenger, 22-year-old Richard Raygoza of Modesto, was booked on suspicion of possession of burglary tools, theft, vandalism and conspiracy.