Crime

Modesto woman severely injured after being hit by auto theft suspect

Accident causes major injuries to driver

An accident sent two people to local hospitals Sunday, April 21, 2019 just before 5pm from the intersection of North 9th Street and Woodland Avenue.
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An accident sent two people to local hospitals Sunday, April 21, 2019 just before 5pm from the intersection of North 9th Street and Woodland Avenue.

A Modesto woman is in critical condition after being hit Sunday evening by a driver who allegedly stole the vehicle.

The woman was driving a Honda Civic west on Coldwell Avenue at about 5 p.m., when she was broadsided by a Jeep Cherokee that was northbound on Ninth Street and ran a red light, said Modesto Police Department spokeswoman Sharon Bear.

She said the driver, 29-year-old Rafael Puerta, ran from the scene, but bystanders chased him down and detained him until officers arrived.

The 34-year-old driver of the Honda was taken to a hospital with critical injuries.

Puerta was arrested on suspicion of auto theft and burglary but could face additional charges related to the crash, Bear said.

She said Puerta, earlier in the day, allegedly stole the keys and Jeep from the west Modesto home of someone he knew.

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