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Big rig hits vehicle in Turlock, leads CHP on a multi-county pursuit

A hit and run near Turlock prompted a pursuit on southbound Highway 99 that saw the California Highway Patrol chasing after a big rig driver hauling a trailer of vehicles.

The pursuit lasted all the way to Chowchilla, where the driver, identified as Silvano Villarreal, 47, of Tracy, finally was taken into custody when the three-axle Freightliner hauling vehicles broke down on a center median.

The incident began around 9 a.m. Saturday when Villareal allegedly hit a vehicle in the area of Santa Fe and East avenues. Villareal did not stop after striking the vehicle and the driver followed after while contacting authorities.

Villarreal drove the big rig onto southbound Highway 99 where the Merced area CHP attempted to make a traffic stop. However, Villarreal had another idea and continued driving on the highway, but he did so at the posted speed limit.

Around the Merced and Madera county lines, the CHP placed out spike strips to stop the big rig. It blew out several tires, but Villarreal was able to continue driving.

In Chowchilla, Villarreal took the Robertson Road exit and then tried to make a left turn, but drove the big rig up onto the center median. The big rig broke down at that point and Villarreal was taken into custody. He was arrested on suspicion of hit and run and evading a peace officer.

There were no injuries reported from the hit and run. Drugs or alcohol do not appear to be factors in the collision.