Four suspects in a Turlock carjacking were arrested in Modesto after crashing the stolen car.
According to a news release from the Modesto Police Department, this is what happened:
Officer Lance Nicolai and reserve officer Anthony Blevins were on patrol at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday when they saw a maroon 1992 Acura Vigor driving recklessly on Empire Avenue. When the officers tried to stop the vehicle, it sped south on Empire. The vehicle ran the stop sign at Oregon Drive, traveling so fast it went airborne. The vehicle then turned onto Bonnie Brae Avenue, where it crashed into a parked car.
Four people fled from the vehicle. Nicolai saw one suspect, 18-year-old Alejandro Cardenas of Modesto, running on Tioga Drive and was able to capture him.
At the same time, several Modesto officers were ending a session at the K-9 training center on Tioga between Bonnie Brae and Connie Way. They began to help look for the remaining three suspects. Officer Daniel Phillips located found one, a 16-year-old Modestan, at Connie and Empire.
Other officers were flagged down by witnesses who said they saw two people from the crash run into the basement of a vacant house in the 1700 block of Connie. Officers went to the residence and sent a dog into the basement to search. The dog found two people hiding. Both suspects, later identified as 18-year-old Modesto residents Lewis Villa and Nicholas Lujan, surrendered.
Witnesses also saw one suspect throw a handgun as he was fleeing. Officers found a .380 caliber semi-automatic handgun that later was determined to have been stolen in Ceres in July.
And it turned out that the Acura had been stolen earlier in the day. A 27-year-old Hilmar man had been sitting in his vehicle in the parking lot of a movie theater on West Main Street in Turlock. Two people, one with a gun, approached and ordered the man out of his vehicle. Two more suspects were nearby parked in a Cadillac. The victim got out and the two suspects drove away, the Cadillac following close. The victim was not injured.
All four suspects were arrested and charged with carjacking, conspiracy, and participating in a criminal street gang. Lujan is believed to be the driver of the vehicle and was additionally charged with hit and run and evading a police officer.