PRCS probationer arrested after dangerous high-speed pursuit in Hemet
On-scene reporting and photographs:
HEMET – Officers arrested an armed and dangerous probationer again on Wednesday, April 6, following a dangerous high-speed pursuit, according to a press release from a Gang Task Force – Region 3 official.
The pursuit traversed residential neighborhoods of Hemet, sometimes hitting speeds in excess of 100 mph. At one point the suspect allegedly tried to ram an officer with the stolen vehicle, described as a black SUV.
The pursuit, which was so dangerous, pursuing officers were ordered to fall back and allow a Riverside County Sheriff’s helicopter to take over – known as a Breakaway Procedure – ended when the stolen vehicle in which the alleged suspect had been fleeing crashed and became disabled in front of 320 W. Kimball Avenue, in the city of Hemet.
The wild, 10-mile-long pursuit began at about 10:35 p.m., when Hemet and San Jacinto Gang Task Force officers attempted to conduct a traffic stop on a vehicle that did not have a front licence plate. The vehicle was first spotted in the area of Cawston and officers attempted to make a stop based on the observed vehicle code violation.
Officers reportedly immediately recognized the driver of the stolen vehicle as a known, Post Release Community Released probationer, later identified by police officials as Cody Barnett, 29, of Hemet.
Barnett is on PRCS probation for a previous dangerous high-speed pursuit in a stolen vehicle, when he was found to be in possession of about 3.8 ounces of methamphetamine, according to a press release about the incident. Based on previous contacts with Barnett, officers believed he was in possession of a firearm and he was considered armed and dangerous.
During the pursuit, officers made several attempts to disable the vehicle’s tires using spike strips, however it was unsure if the spikes helped bring the pursuit to a safe conclusion.
The vehicle eventually crashed on West Kimball after a pursuing California Highway Patrol officer utilized a PIT maneuver to disable the stolen vehicle. With the sheriff’s helicopter circling overhead, officers cautiously approached the disabled vehicle with their guns drawn, however Barnett reportedly gave up, putting his hands out the window.
Officers preparing to take Barnett into custody had to request assistance in pushing back large crowds of curious onlookers, who were directly in the line of fire of officers who were attempting to take Barnett into custody. A K9 was requested to respond to the location to assist in the arrest, however Barnett was taken into custody without further incident.
A jail records search revealed Barnett was arrested and booked for 10 felonies and one misdemeanor, including assault with a deadly weapon against a police officer, recklessly evading, possession of stolen property, being a felon in possession of a firearm, being a felon in possession of ammunition, committing a felony while on probation and numerous prior state prison enhancements.
Barnett is being held without bail. He was scheduled to be arraigned at an unspecified court this morning, April 8.
Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact Hemet Police Sergeant John Davis at (951) 765-2400. Callers can remain anonymous.
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