Crime

Ripon suspect drove stolen vehicle across river bridge made for bicycles, police say

If you witness a crime, here’s what to do

Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity.
Up Next
Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity.

Ripon police Monday arrested a man suspected of leading officers on a pursuit in a stolen vehicle, some of it on a bicycle bridge across the Stanislaus River.

Gabriel Velasquez, 37, of Salida faces three charges following the Sunday evening pursuit, the Ripon Police Department said in a news release.

It started when an officer was patrolling the area around Mavis Stouffer Park, on the east side of the city, at about 8:20 p.m. The officer spotted a vehicle that had been reported stolen and conducted a “high-risk” traffic stop on Velasquez, the release said.

Velasquez put the vehicle into reverse and struck a patrol car, whose driver had already stepped out and was not injured, police said. The suspect then drove off, hitting the pedestrian gate on the south side of the park and exiting onto Tornell Drive, the release said.

The pursuit continued south on Manley Drive and into the parking lot at the bridge, which carries bicycles and pedestrians across the river, police said. Velasquez drove through a closed emergency access gate, crossed into Stanislaus County and struck poles designed to keep motor vehicles off the bridge, the release said.

It said the stolen vehicle was recovered Monday morning on Durley Drive in Salida by members of the Stanislaus County Probation Department. A detective and officer from Ripon arrested Velasquez on Adams Avenue in Salida with help from Stanislaus probation and the county’s auto theft task force, police said.

Velasquez faces charges of possession of a stolen vehicle, assaulting a police officer, and evading police. He was to be booked at the San Joaquin County Jail.

John Holland covers breaking news and has been with The Modesto Bee since 2000. He has covered agriculture for the Bee and at newspapers in Sonora and Visalia. He was born and raised in San Francisco and has a journalism degree from UC Berkeley.
  Comments