Two teenagers inside a stolen car led police on a pursuit across three San Diego freeways Friday – from Mountain View to Spring Valley – at speeds that reached 115 mph.
San Diego Police Department (SDPD) Acting Sgt. Corey Stasch said officers with the Southeastern Division responded to a report just before 9 a.m. of the activation of a LoJack system in Mountain View, giving them information that a car had been stolen.
A brief description of the stolen red sedan was given to police, as well as the vehicle’s license plate number. A few minutes later, an officer spotted the car at 4400 Imperial Avenue near a Home Depot, with two occupants inside.
Stasch said the officer tried to pull over the driver, but she refused to stop, and a pursuit ensued.
The suspect drove onto southbound Interstate 805, transitioned onto eastbound State Route 54, drove onto northbound State Route 125, and then took the exit to Jamacha Road. Stasch said the chase on the freeways reached speeds between 110 and 115 mph.
After exiting on Jamacha Road, the teenage driver pulled into the parking lot of a Kmart on Sweetwater Road. As she entered the lot, Stasch said she hit a curb and lost control, crashing into another car.
“The vehicle continued through the parking lot with just three functioning wheels and collided with another parked car,” he explained.
With the stolen car at a halt – the crashed front bumper partially detached, and the airbags deployed – officers called out verbal commands for the duo to get out of the car. A K-9 was at the scene, too, barking at the suspects.
The acting sergeant said the suspects exited the car on their own, without incident, and were taken into custody. That’s when police realized the suspects were teenagers – both 17 years old.
Stasch said the teens had very “adult-like” appearances, so officers didn’t realize they were juveniles until the end of the pursuit. Stasch said the male passenger complained of neck pain and was treated at the scene. No one else was hurt in the chase.
Upon searching the car, officers discovered a pellet gun inside.
The pellet gun, along with a pink backpack and other belongings, could be seen on the hood of a police car as officers examined the evidence.
Nour Talat told NBC 7 he witnessed the end of the pursuit and the crash in the Kmart parking lot. He was just about to start his day and head to work when he heard police sirens.
Talat then saw the suspect zip into the parking lot and crash into another car – just missing his car.
“The front bumper flew off,” he recalled, adding that he’s grateful the driver didn’t hit his car in the process.
Talat said officers called out commands to the teens and they surrendered quickly. He said the response was swift.
“It was the perfect ending to a chase like that. Nobody got hurt; cops were in and got them out with a quickness,” he added.