2 juveniles ejected from stolen vehicle after high speed pursuit and crash in Temecula
TEMECULA – Two juveniles in a stolen vehicle led officers on a dangerous, high-speed pursuit through Temecula and onto Interstate 15 on Tuesday morning, April 5, according to California Highway Patrol Public Information Officer Mike Lassig. The chase ended when the stolen vehicle crashed on the 15 freeway, rolling over several times.
The two young suspects, who have not been identified due to their ages, were not wearing seat-belts and both were ejected from the stolen Tahoe when it crashed, according to Lassig. One of the juveniles suffered major injuries, the other suffered moderate injuries.
The violent crash resulted in a SIG alert and snarled traffic for several hours, as morning commuters slowly worked their way past the accident scene.
The incident began at about 5:30 a.m., on Winchester Road, when a motorcycle officer from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Temecula Police Station attempted to pull over a white, 2004 Chevrolet Tahoe for a traffic violation, according to Lassig.
The juvenile driver refused to yield and fled the area at a high rate of speed.
The stolen Tahoe headed westbound on Winchester Road before turning southbound onto Diaz Road. The deputy continued to pursue while requesting assistance from other law enforcement officers in the area.
As the motorcycle officer continued to pursue the stolen vehicle, the driver raced eastbound on Rancho California Road, before turning southbound onto I-15.
Despite “moderate to heavy” rush hour traffic, the driver of the stolen Tahoe continued driving in an extremely dangerous and reckless manner, according to Lassig. “The motorcycle officer was unable to stay behind the suspects due to traffic, and almost completely lost sight of the Tahoe at that point,” Lassig said.
As traffic continued to get heavier, the driver of the stolen vehicle veered into the center divider, driving well above the speed of other traffic, according to investigators.
As the suspect’s vehicle approached Temecula Parkway the driver suddenly veered sharply to the right, in a last moment attempt to exit the freeway. The Tahoe reportedly went up on two wheels, before it started flipping repeatedly, ejecting both occupants.
“At that point, the Tahoe driver crashed into a freeway call box, and the suspect’s vehicle rolled multiple times,” Lassig said. Pursuing officers were on scene of the major accident “within seconds,” according to Lassig.
Deputies reportedly approached the mangled wreckage cautiously, with their guns drawn. They were initially unable to find the driver and passenger and began searching the area. Deputies eventually located both juveniles, who had been thrown from the vehicle when it rolled multiple times.
As traffic on the freeway ground to a halt, many commuters witnessed the immediate aftermath of the accident.
Firefighters and paramedics responded to the accident scene and treated the two occupants from the stolen vehicle. Paramedics later transported the two to a local area hospital. No details regarding the extent of the juveniles’ injuries were immediately available.
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