A bizarre scene in Paso Robles last night. CHP officers say a man tried to drive away from them, only to crash his car into a hillside. And it all happened while his 5-year-old daughter was in the car.

Jason Crawford, who lives near where the crash happened, says, "I was eating dinner and watching the History Channel, and all of a sudden 'boom!' I ran outside and you could see the sirens going and everything. We saw all this dust in the air."

Crawford was barely 20 yards away from what turned out to be the end of a very peculiar incident.

It started near Highway 46. A CHP officer had a BMW stopped on the side of the road during a traffic stop, when a ford SUV, driven by Claude Cowans, pulled in front of the officer and the BMW. Cowans then put his Ford in reverse, slowly backing up and eventually hitting the BMW for no apparent reason. The CHP officer then took Cowans' information, but Cowans took off. Cowans was stopped again down the road by another officer, but Cowans was agitated and angry this time, according to CHP. Once again, he took off.

He drove through downtown, before tearing through a residential part of Paso Robles. He went up a hill on 13th street, approaching Chestnut Street, but with bad visibility in the night he ran straight into a hill. His car went flying.
As police and emergency vehicles flooded the area, Crawford said he could hear the sound of a passenger. CHP says the passenger was Cowans' 5-year-old daughter.

"You could hear her kind of crying,' says Crawford. "It was kind of eerie a little bit."

The 5-year-old was treated for moderate injuries. Claude Cowans suffered major injuries in the crash.

It's unclear the reason for Cowans' strange behavior, but DUI is not suspected. CHP was unable to say if any arrest will be made.