HEMET: Man arrested after vehicle, foot pursuit

HEMET – A man who was reportedly armed with a gun was arrested after a short vehicle pursuit sped through Hemet Tuesday, April 4. Details are still emerging but the pursuit, that hit speeds in excess of 70 mph and lasted about three-minutes, happened after the armed subject fled from an officer during a traffic stop.

Riverside Sheriff’s K9 “Barron” assisted with searching for evidence after the pursuit. Robert Carter/Public safety Incidents photo

The incident began about 9:06 p.m., when a City of Hemet police officer attempted to conduct a traffic enforcement stop in the area of Palm Avenue in Hemet. The driver, who officials have not yet named, failed to yield to the officer’s lights and siren and immediately accelerated away from the officer.

The officer initiated a pursuit and chased the vehicle and its two occupants northbound on N. Palm Avenue and then eastbound on E. Menlo Avenue.

During the pursuit, the suspect drove in an extremely reckless manner, without regard for the safety of other citizens or pursuing officers. Officers in the pursuit reported that the suspect was fleeing at high-speed and failing to stop or slow down for any stop signs or traffic lights.

Witnesses reported that as the suspect was fleeing northbound on Palm Avenue, each time he hit a set of the deep dips spaced every other block, his vehicle – which was described as a newer, dark grey, Audi sedan – was sent air born before landing hard, in a shower of sparks and debris.

Police officers and sheriff’s deputies discuss the pursuit and suspect’s apprehension. John Strangis photo

Citizens immediately took to social media while the pursuit was still happening, asking questions and sharing first hand accounts of what they saw as the pursuit sped by them or past their homes.

As the pursuit continued eastbound on Menlo Avenue, the vehicle began smoking and appeared to have been damaged or disabled from the multiple hard landings the car had endured earlier in the pursuit.

The pursuit slowed to about 30 mph but continued for several more blocks, until the driver turned south onto Hillmer Drive, which ends in a cul-de-sac. After turning onto the dead-end street, the driver jumped out of the vehicle and fled on foot.

Officers, who were right behind the driver when he fled, immediately updated that the man was armed with a handgun. Despite the danger, officers continued chasing the armed man, as other officers and assisting deputies flooded into the area.

With officers hot on his heels, the suspect continued running east through private yards and properties towards the adjacent neighborhood. He emerged into the next neighborhood on Arlington Way and continued running; first east on El Dorado Lane and then south on Imperial Way, where pursuing officers overtook the running man.

Officers stand guard over the suspect before he was transported to HVH for a medical release for booking. Robert Carter/Public safety Incidents photo

In spite of being caught by officers, the man reportedly refused to be taken into custody and he resisted arrest. Officials had to physically subdue the man to get him into handcuffs. After his arrest, the man was transported to Hemet Valley Hospital for a medical clearance to be booked into jail.

Terry Morgan, who witnessed all the chaos and action at the end of the pursuit, talked about what he saw after the end of the pursuit and arrest.

Morgan, who lives on Arlington Street, explained he was inside his home when he heard sirens approaching his neighborhood. He went outside when he realized the sirens all stopped in the neighborhood just to the west of his.

“I came out to the end of my driveway when I heard all the commotion in the neighbor’s yard,” Morgan explained.

“I saw the (suspect) running between the houses. He did a nice little face plant in the street,” Morgan said while laughing.”

Morgan, who explained the suspect landed hard on his face after falling during the foot pursuit said, “He was probably injured from when he face planted.”

“Then (the suspect) got up and started running again and I saw the officer chasing him (while) more cops were coming over the fence,” Morgan explained. “So I ran down to the corner to see what was going on and (the officers) got him. They had him down on the ground and took care of him.”

The commotion brought neighbors running out of their homes to watch all the activity. John Strangis photo

“It was a pretty good commotion,’ Morgan concluded.

It was not known if officers located and recovered the gun the suspect was seen running with; however, officers were seen searching a specific property on El Dorado Lane – over the objections of the uncooperative homeowners. It was not yet known if the man who was arrested was related or connected in any way to the owners of the El Dorado Lane property.

A sheriff’s K9 handler and his partner “Barron” responded to the neighborhood where the pursuit terminated to assist with looking for evidence after the pursuit ended.

A passenger, who remained in the car when the suspect fled on foot from the officers, was detained at the location where the suspect abandoned the vehicle. That person’s disposition was not immediately known.

This is a developing story. Additional information will be updated as it becomes available.

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John Strangis video

 

Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

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Trevor Montgomery runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News and Anza Valley Outlook and also writes for Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg and breaking his back in an off-duty accident.

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations, including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center and Lake Elsinore Station, along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 26 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and has 13 children and 12 – soon to be 13 – grandchildren.

 

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