HEMET: Suspect arrested after attempting to ram officer during vehicle pursuit
HEMET – A Hemet resident was arrested on Monday, April 4, after he allegedly tried to ram an officer with his car before leading police on a high-speed pursuit through Hemet, according to police officials.
The dangerous incident began at about 2:45 a.m., when a patrol officer attempted to conduct a traffic stop on a car in the 900 block of Johnston Avenue. The officer attempted to stop the car after he saw it did not have license plates and the driver failed to stop at a stop sign.
When the officer activated his overhead lights, the car stopped abruptly and two occupants suddenly jumped out of and then immediately got back into the car. The driver, later identified as James Wood, 22, reversed the car – driving backwards towards the officer.
After nearly being struck by the fleeing vehicle, the officer broadcast an emergency call for assistance and pursued the car through a number of residential streets. During the three-minute long vehicle pursuit, the suspect drove in an extremely reckless manner, without regard for the safety of citizens or pursuing officers. The driver reached speeds up to 60 mph while fleeing and ran at least four stop signs and one red light.
Wood continued fleeing until reaching the 200 block of North Hamilton Avenue, where he jumped out of the car while it was still moving and fled from the vehicle on foot. The car continued until it crashed into a parked car.
As Wood fled on foot, officers pursued closely behind him, advising constant updates as the fleeing man ran through an apartment complex, jumped fences and ran through backyards as citizens slept.
Officers apprehended Wood with help from a police K9 officer just before 2:50 a.m., about six minutes after the incident began.
During their investigation, officers determined that during the pursuit, a loaded firearm was thrown out of the car near Thompson and Val Monte streets. Police recovered the weapon as evidence. As of this report, officers had not yet determined if the gun was stolen.
At the conclusion of their investigation, officers arrested Wood for suspicion of carrying a loaded firearm in public, assault with a deadly weapon, resisting arrest and felony evading. Wood’s Bail was set at $100,000.
No information was immediately available about the passenger from the vehicle.
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