Spike strips end 100 mph Burney-bound RPD pursuit

REDDING — Two people in a stolen vehicle were arrested after leading officials from three agencies on a dangerous, high-speed pursuit, as it sped from Redding toward the mountain community of Burney on 299E early Monday morning, Aug. 19.

The pursuit, which reached speeds of 100 mph, lasted nearly 30 minutes, and covered 35 miles, was successfully brought to an end when SCSO deputies assigned to the Burney Mountain Station managed to get ahead of the chase and deployed spike strips, causing the stolen vehicle’s tires to deflate.

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This morning’s dangerous pursuit began at 1:52 a.m., after a Redding police officer attempted to conduct a traffic stop on a suspected D.U.I. driver near Hartnell Ave. and Shasta View Dr. in Redding, Redding Police Corporal Jeff Schmidt later reported.

The driver, Paul Cruz, 49, of Redding, refused to yield to the officer’s lights and siren and accelerated away from the official, heading eastbound on Hartnell Ave., at which time a pursuit was initiated.

During the ensuing chase Cruz fled without regard for the safety of other citizens or pursuing officers, at times passing other vehicles on the wrong side of the road and hitting speeds in excess of 100 mph as he fled from authorities.

Paul Cruz and Felicia Gensaw were arrested after leading officers on a dangerous pursuit in a stolen car that hit speeds of 100 mph as it headed eastbound on SR-299E from Redding toward the mountain community of Burney. RPD photos

As the pursuit continued, Redding PD officers requested assistance from CHP’s Northern Division Air Operations and Shasta  County Sheriff’s Office. As CHP’s H-16 was dispatched to the area, SCSO deputies joined the chase as it wound its way eastbound on 299E toward Burney.

At around 2:10 a.m., as the pursuit was still continuing along the winding, two lane mountain roadway, area resident Lisa Strickland told SCNS, “Eight cops just flew by my house,” which sits along 299E.

“They were chasing a car and going very fast,” Strickland continued, while offering prayers for the safety of the pursuing officers and area residents.

As the pursuit entered the Round Mountain area, Burney deputies positioned themselves ahead of the chase and managed to successfully deploy a set of spike strips in the area of Fenders Ferry Rd. The spike strips caused the vehicle’s tires to slowly deflate, bringing the pursuit to a safe conclusion a short distance later, near Montgomery Creek Falls Rd.

After the chase came to an end, officers and deputies worked together to conduct a high-risk, felony stop, at which time Cruz and his passenger, later identified as Felicia Gensaw, 32, of Redding, were taken down at gunpoint and apprehended “peacefully” without further incident, according to Schmidt.

After the pair was in custody, officials determined the vehicle had been reported stolen from Hilltop Dr. in Redding, July 25. Officials also learned the license plates on the vehicle “had been replaced with ones stolen from another vehicle of the same make, model and year,” Schmidt explained.

Cruz, who is currently on probation for drug related offenses, was booked into Shasta County Jail for possession of a stolen car, driving under the influence of drugs, and violation of probation.

Gensaw was booked for possession of stolen property and possession of suspected methamphetamine.

No officers or citizens were injured during the pursuit or couple’s apprehension.

After hearing of the pursuit’s safe conclusion, Strickland told SCNS, “I couldn’t get anything on the scanner, but I figured they had caught the person when I saw all the patrol cars heading back to Redding less than 25 minutes later. I was very impressed and very glad to hear all were safe.”

“High speed in that canyon – with all its unknown conditions – is so dangerous, and I know of over a dozen deaths and major injury wrecks within a couple miles of my house over the last ten years,” explained Strickland. “So I get very upset at people speeding through the area.”

“I’m very happy that our local law enforcement officers know how to handle the mountain’s many sharp curves and managed to bring the chase to a safe ending,” Strickland continued. “Great job to all those involved!”

Anyone with further information about this investigation is encouraged to contact Redding Police Department at (530) 225-4200. Callers can refer to incident file number 19R053483 and can remain anonymous.


Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 47, moved last year to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he currently writes for or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, the (now defunct) Valley Chronicle, Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle, and Anza Valley Outlook; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and Mountain Echo in Shasta 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. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s 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 29 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 15 – but soon to be 16 – grandchildren.

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