HEMET: No charges filed after stolen vehicle pursuit ends with crash and arrest
HEMET — A man who led law enforcement officials from multiple local agencies was arrested – but later released without charges – after a dangerous, stolen-vehicle pursuit that began in Moreno Valley came to a crashing end in Hemet, Tuesday evening, Sept. 12.
At times, the pursuit involved deputies from Moreno Valley, Perris, Menifee and Hemet, as well as officers from California Highway Patrol and City of Hemet.
Members from the multi-agency, Riverside County Gang Task Force, Sheriff’s aviation members, Hemet PD detectives and special teams members and a sheriff’s K-9 assisted with the high-profile arrest
The pursuit, which began in the area of Alessandro and Perris Boulevards in Moreno Valley when a deputy spotted a stolen Honda, ended with a high-risk, felony traffic stop about 30 minutes after it began, near the intersection of Florida and Sanderson Avenues in Hemet. The crash and subsequent traffic stop snarled traffic through one of the city’s most traveled intersections at the height of rush-hour.
After the chase officials arrested the alleged driver, 29-year-old, Victor Ulloa Padilla, and he was booked into Cois M. Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta on suspicion of vehicle theft, evading police resulting in injuries and receiving known stolen property. His bail was set at $250,000.
In spite of the charges for which he was booked, a Friday, Sept. 15, online jail records search revealed Padilla was released – without charges – two days after the incident and his arrest.
It was not immediately known why the District Attorney’s office elected to not file charges against Padilla; however, the case could require further investigation or officials were not able to file charges against the alleged car thief within 48 hours, as required by California Penal Code §825(a)(1).
The incident began about 6 p.m., when a Riverside County Sheriff’s deputy from the Moreno Valley Police Station spotted a stolen older, grey Honda that was occupied by two men. When deputies attempted to conduct a traffic stop, the vehicle failed to yield, at which time authorities initiated a vehicle pursuit.
As the pursuit wound its way from Moreno Valley towards and through the cities of Perris and Menifee and other unincorporated areas, officials from the multiple involved agencies coordinated their efforts with assistance from Riverside Sheriff’s aviation unit in “Star-9” from above.
When the chase began heading towards the city of Hemet, CHP and Hemet police officers were waiting to intercept the vehicle and assume the pursuit, if required.
According to witnesses, as the vehicle neared the intersection of Warren and Stetson Avenues, Padilla crashed the stolen Honda into another car, causing the occupants of the other vehicle minor injuries. Despite the crash, Padilla continued fleeing.
The pursuit ended just minutes later in heavy traffic, on Florida Avenue near Sanderson Avenue. It was not immediately known if heavy, rush-hour traffic caused the fleeing driver to give up or if the stolen Honda became disabled from the crash just minutes earlier, but once the vehicle was stuck in traffic, quick-acting officials managed to get a set of spike strips spread in front of the car’s front tires.
More than one dozen marked, unmarked and undercover vehicles from multiple agencies and sheriff’s stations stacked up behind the stolen car as Star-9 circled overhead and officials brought no less than three different forms of less-lethal force options, including bean-bag shotguns, Pepperball launchers and Tasers.
Some citizens – finding themselves inside their vehicles and caught up in the middle of a crowded, felony, traffic stop – were seen sitting inside their cars, many with cell phones out and filming, with front row seats of something usually reserved for police shows and police-based reality television.
As throngs of passersby stood watching all the police activity – many with their own cell phones out and recording – and with traffic moving slowly past the high-risk stop, officials called the driver and passenger out of the vehicle at gunpoint.
About ten minutes after the traffic stop began, officials had both men in custody and had begun to clear the scene and recover the stolen vehicle, which was eventually towed from the scene.
Deputies from the Moreno Valley Sheriff’s Station responded to the scene and took the two men back to Moreno Valley where the pursuit began.
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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, The Valley Chronicle 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, breaking his back and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries 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 27 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 14 grandchildren.