To elude police, pair in stolen car go wrong way on Highway 99 and Turlock streets

A driver and his passenger went on a wild ride in a stolen car early Wednesday, several times going the wrong way on Highway 99 and Turlock city streets to elude authorities. The driver had some close calls with other vehicles, but there were no collisions, police said.

The incident began about 12:45 a.m. on the 500 block of North Tully Road in Turlock when a police officer tried to stop the car for a vehicle code violation.

The driver refused to yield, so the officer reported he was beginning a pursuit, Police Department spokesman Sgt. Russell Holeman said.

The chase began at moderate speed on city streets but was suspended when the driver got on Highway 99 at Main Street and began heading north in the southbound lanes. He continued the wrong-way driving nearly two miles up to the Pedretti Park area south of Monte Vista Avenue before making a U-turn and going the right direction, Holeman said.

The driver — police have identified him but not released his name — then got off Highway 99 at Fulkerth Road. But once again he got on the highway, this time driving south in the northbound lanes for nearly three miles to Lander Avenue.

On Lander, he drove north in a southbound lane, then entered neighborhood streets, driving an estimated 40 to 50 mph, Holeman said. He turned onto West Main Street, going west in an eastbound lane until jumping onto 99 again, Holeman said.

Once more, the driver went against traffic on the highway: north in southbound lanes. “He made it almost all the way up to Taylor Road (about three miles) before he turned around and went the right way,” the sergeant said. The driver got down to Monte Vista Avenue, where he and his passenger got out and ran at about 1 a.m.

A perimeter was set up, with the California Highway Patrol — including an aircraft — and a Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department K-9 unit helping.

The passenger, 34-year-old Joshua Haidar, surrendered about 1:30 a.m. after officers began calling to the men over a loudspeaker.

About 2:30 a.m., realizing the driver had escaped the perimeter, police shut down the operation. A warrant will be sought for his arrest, Holeman said.

Haidar was arrested on drug warrants and warrants for resisting arrest. He also was found in possession of drugs so was booked on that charge, too, Holeman said.

Deke has been an editor and reporter with The Modesto Bee since 1995. He currently does breaking-news, education and human-interest reporting. A Beyer High grad, he studied geology and journalism at UC Davis and CSU Sacramento.