CHP Pursues Dump Truck in Wild Chase - NBC 7 San Diego

CHP Pursues Dump Truck in Wild Chase

Owners spot missing truck, call 911

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    An amazing coincidence triggered the pursuit and crash of a stolen dump truck.

    The driver of a stolen dump truck is under arrest after leading officers on a chase and ramming a sheriff's deputy's SUV. 

    In an amazing coincidence, it was the rightful owners of the dump truck who spotted their missing vehicle Sunday afternoon and called 911.

    California Highway Patrol officers said David Lee, 37, led officers on a chase that began along state Route 79 near Santa Ysabel and ended near Interstate 8.

    Nancy and Harold Martinez are the owners of the truck.  They said it was stolen off their lot in El Cajon two weeks ago. The couple owns PCS Contracting, a local construction company.  They rely on the vehicle for business.

    "We've been stressing over losing our means of employment of making a living," Nancy said.

    The Martinezes said they were driving home from a weekend in Julian when their missing vehicle drove past them on state Route 79.

    "We were so happy to see our truck," Nancy said. "We couldn't believe it.  It was just a rush of adrenaline."

    The couple called 911. CHP officers, along with sheriff’s deputies joined the chase.  Officers said that at times, Lee did not have control of the vehicle.

    "There was a point where three vehicles had to swerve out of his way in order to keep from being hit," CHP officer Brian Pennings said.

    Officers and deputies tried to pull Lee over in Julian, but they say it was clear Lee wasn't stopping.

    "The suspect was able to maneuver the vehicle through the stop and intentionally rammed a San Diego County Sheriff’s patrol vehicle, causing major damage," Pennings said.

    The three-axle truck eventually plowed through several spike strips, shredding the tires.  Lee stopped and surrendered by Interstate 8 near Descanso. Officers said Lee was driving on a suspended license and is on parole for stolen vehicles. 

    The Martinezes are still in disbelief.

    "I'm amazed," Harold said. "I can't believe this guy was driving it around like it was his."

    The CHP said the Martinezes got lucky and did exactly the right thing by calling for help.

    "I'm glad I got my truck back," Harold said. "It's going to need some repair, but I'm glad I got it back."

    No one was injured during the chase. The suspect is facing a list of charges including theft of a vehicle, evading police and assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer.