A 19-year-old Keyes man was arrested early Saturday morning after leading police on a 23-mile high-speed chase in a car which he took from his girlfriend.
The chase began at 12:05 a.m. on Saturday when Ceres Police Officer Eric Gallegos was headed to the Public Safety Center jail with a female passenger while on westbound Whitmore Avenue. Going over the overpass he spotted what appeared to be stranded motorists in the eastbound lane with doors and trunk open. Officer Gallegos stopped to assist when Sinue Cruz, 19, of Keyes, quickly jumped into the car and started yelling at the 17-year-old girl with him for her to get back in and she replied not to take the car. Cruz put it into drive and took off. The officer learned that the vehicle, a white Chrysler 200, belonged to the girl’s mom and that only she had permission to drive it, not Cruz.
Gallegos was unable to chase Cruz so he called for other officers to find him and pull him over. Ceres Officer Jon Vera got behind Cruz at Central and Whitmore, and the chase was on. Ceres Officer Vera attempted to stop Cruz northbound on Central Avenue but the suspect made a U-turn near Herndon and went southbound onto Central Avenue and then westbound on Whitmore Avenue.
With the trunk lid flapping wildly, Cruz accelerated up to 60 mph, blowing through the red light at Morgan and Whitmore and then accelerated to speeds of up to 100 mph. The chase went past Crows Landing Road, Ustick Road and out to Carpenter Road. The pursuit then went southbound on Vivian Road, blowing through stop signs at Hackett and Service at 100 mph. Cruz blew through the four-way intersection of Keyes and Vivian roads and continued onto eastbound Fulkerth Road, then north onto Central Avenue back into Ceres.
The chase went westbound on Hackett Road, southbound on Morgan Road and eastbound on Tasha Drive. Cruz lost control on Cassie Lane where the vehicle hit a street sign pole, but he kept fleeing police eastbound on Genevieve Way where police executed an unsuccessful PIT maneuver in an attempt to disable the car. Cruz continued driving northbound onto Georgeanne Place where another PIT maneuver was attempted. The suspect drove westbound on Genevieve where he came directly at a sheriff’s deputy head on until the deputy moved aside to avert a crash.
The chase ended as it went from northbound Jordanolo Drive into Vanessa Court where officers boxed Cruz in and ordered him to get out. Cruz refused so officers pulled him out through the driver’s window, said Ceres Police Department spokesman Lt. Chris Perry. Cruz was arrested and booked for auto theft, felony evading of an officer and assault with a deadly weapon.
The ex-girlfriend told police that Cruz made a statement to her that he was distraught and wanted to jump off the overpass.
Two Ceres patrol cars sustained minor damage during the incident.