Crime

High-speed police pursuit on Highway 154 leads to crash

One person injured when suspect crashed into cars

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. -  UPDATE

The suspect involved in a theft in Solvang and later leading police on a car chase on Highway 154 has been identified as 31-year-old Demetrius Ford of Los Angeles.

Ford and an unidentified woman were involved in the theft at VIP Tobacco Shop according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office. That woman was not in the car with the suspect at the end of the pursuit but she was reportedly cited and released. Sheriff's investigators are still working to determine her level of involvement in this incident.

Following the theft in Solvang, the Sheriff's Office said Ford was spotted by deputies traveling on Highway 246 near Casino Way. Deputies attempted to stop the suspect's car but Ford refused to stop and sped away at a high rate of speed, the Sheriff's Office said.

Law enforcement ended the pursuit fearing for the safety of other motorists. However, a short time after merging onto Highway 154, authorities say Ford crashed into several cars and later rammed through a closed gate at a ranch in the 4000 block of Highway 154 before colliding with a tree.

One person suffered minor injuries when Ford allegedly crashed into several motorists.

Ford fled on foot after crashing and attempted to steal a nearby car that was parked at the ranch, according to the Sheriff's Office.

"Deputies were able to access the locked vehicle via a window and removed Ford from the truck, taking him into custody without further incident," said the Sheriff's Office in a statement.

Ford was taken to the hospital with moderate injuries. 

"He was booked in absentia on an outstanding no-bail drug-related probation warrant out of Los Angeles County as well as the following local charges: providing a false name to a peace officer, shoplifting, reckless evading, felony hit and run resulting in injury, felony vandalism, resisting/threatening a peace officer, vehicle theft, possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of tear gas by a prohibited person/felon and driving on a suspended license," said the Sheriff's Office.

Ford will be taken to Santa Barbara County Jail after he is medically cleared from the hospital.

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ORIGINAL POST

A police pursuit led to a wreck on Highway 154 in Santa Barbara County Wednesday morning.

The initial call to police came in around 9:30 a.m. reporting a possible robbery that happened at VIP Tobacco Shop located at 606 Alamo Pintado Road in Solvang. Authorities later discovered it was a shoplift and not a robbery.

The pursuit started westbound on Highway 154 with speeds reaching up to 100 miles per hour, according to emergency traffic radio.

At some point, a car crash occurred in the 4100 block of Highway 154. One person was injured.

The suspect reportedly abandoned his car soon after the crash and took off on foot while attempting to carjack another car. The suspect was arrested a short time later.

A Santa Barbara County Sheriff's helicopter assisted with the pursuit. 

With the help of a K-9, authorities continued searching for a possible second suspect whom the suspect in custody said was involved in the pursuit with him. However, police were unable to find and confirm there was a second person involved.

This story will be updated with the latest information when it becomes available.


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