Dangerous Anderson pursuit & crash leaves one dead

ANDERSON — A probationer who led officers on a dangerous pursuit through Anderson in a stolen vehicle Wednesday, Oct. 2, was arrested after crashing the stolen car on Highway 273 near Rhonda Rd., according to officials. The crash resulted in the death of one of two passengers inside the stolen car.

Records indicate the man accused of driving and crashing the stolen vehicle pleaded guilty last December to receiving a stolen vehicle and was ordered to serve six months of jail time.

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Yesterday’s deadly pursuit began around 7:20 a.m., when Anderson police officers spotted a stolen black Honda Civic traveling southbound on Highway 273 near South St.

When officers attempted to conduct a felony stop on the stolen vehicle the driver, later identified as 28-year-old, Derrick Gary Tope, ignored the officers’ lights and sirens and sped away from officers; at which time they began pursuing the stolen Honda.

Derrick Tope was arrested after leading Anderson police officers on a pursuit that ended when the probationer lost control of his stolen vehicle and crashed, causing one of his two passengers to suffer fatal injuries. APD photo

As Tope fled from officers, he drove without regard for the safety of pursuing officials, other motorists or pedestrians, eventually fleeing into the Shasta Gateway Center, Anderson PD officials have since explained.

While in the parking lot of the shopping center Tope “began turning in circles in the parking lot, causing public safety concerns due to the populated shopping center,” officials explained.

Tope then sped away from the shopping center at high speed, heading southbound on Highway 273 before turning onto Interstate 5.

“As the stolen vehicle approached the first exit to Cottonwood, it lost control and went over the embankment causing the vehicle to flip upside down in the brush near Rhonda Road,” said officials.

Officers quickly located Tope and a female passenger inside the overturned Honda. They also found a man who had been ejected from the stolen vehicle and immediately began rendering first-aid to the injured trio until medical personnel arrived on the scene.

“The male passenger was transported to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries from the violent collision and was pronounced deceased,” officials explained.

The victim’s name was not released, pending further investigation and notification of the man’s family.

A female passenger, whose name was also withheld by authorities, was transported to a local hospital where she was treated for her injuries and later released.

Tope was also transported to a local hospital where he was treated for injuries sustained in the deadly crash and later released back to police custody.

The woman involved in yesterday’s pursuit has since told KRCR News Channel 7 she had just met Tope earlier in the day and that she is “lucky to be alive.”

The woman said she was with a friend in Anderson when Tope stopped by to take the pair to breakfast.

As they were driving, the woman said Tope spotted an officer behind his vehicle and took off when the officer tried to conduct a traffic stop on the vehicle.

Despite begging to be let out of the stolen Honda, Tope refused to stop and let her out of the vehicle and continued fleeing from officers.

“She says the next thing she knew, they were racing down the freeway and crashed,” KRCR News Channel 7 reported. “The woman says she was knocked out and when she came to, she realized her friend, the passenger in the front, had been ejected.”

The woman, who is considered a victim of Tope’s decision to flee from officers, is now at home recovering from her unspecified injuries, according to KRCR.

Based on their subsequent investigation, officers arrested Tope and booked him into Shasta County Jail on suspicion of homicide, recklessly evading officers, false imprisonment, and being in possession of a stolen vehicle, “along with numerous other felony charges,” according to officials.

Anderson PD’s investigation is ongoing and officials have declined to release any further information as of this report.


Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 48, 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 writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, (the now defunct) Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; 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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