Tips to avoid being carjacked and what to do if it happens to you
What started as an offer of a ride home turned into a carjacking, chase and crash that culminated in the arrest of a 23-year-old Oakland man early Wednesday morning.
California Highway Patrol spokesman Tom Olsen said the initial carjacking report came in at 12:36 a.m.
The victim was a 34-year-old Ceres resident who was coming back with friends from an indoor soccer game, Ceres Police Sgt. Greg Yotsuya said. He had dropped off everyone but one person, described as a friend of the friend of the victim and later identified as Erick Mendiola, 23, of Oakland.
Mendiola got out of the car at Roswell Way and Rose Avenue, opened the driver’s door and held a large kitchen knife to the victim’s head, telling the victim to get out of the car, Yotsuya said. The victim complied and Mendiola took off in the car.
Modesto Police Department spokeswoman Sharon Bear said police located the vehicle, with a lone occupant, and chased it westbound on Paradise Road past Wade Avenue and then onto State Route 132.
The driver continued westbound on Highway 132 past Mapes Ranch. At some point Mendoila, who was speeding, lost control of the vehicle and went off the north edge of the road and down an embankment. The vehicle — a 2012 Acura sedan — came to rest about 45 feet off the highway.
Mendiola ran away and was captured by Modesto police officers at about 1:10 a.m. Mendiola was arrested on charges of evading police, carjacking, brandishing a weapon, hit and run, and driving on a suspended license.
Olsen said the CHP is handling the crash investigation.