High Speed Chase in Downtown Santa Barbara
Crash damages three vehicles, and injures three people including a child
Santa Barbara County sheriff's officials released the name of a man who allegedly led deputies on a wild high speed chase.
Authorities said Evan Githens, 28, was driving a stolen white Chevrolet work truck during the chase. Githens allegedly drove at speeds up to 90-miles an hour, running stop signs and weaving through city streets and getting on and off the freeway.
The pursuit started about 3:50 p.m. Monday afternoon when deputies spotted the truck traveling on Highway 101 near the southbound Carrillo Street exit. The deputies tried to pull the truck over, but the driver took off. The chase took deputies crisscrossing town from Highway 101 to various streets including Arrellaga, Anapamu and De La Vina. Deputies were helped by a sheriff's helicopter overhead that followed Githens every move.
The chase ended when the stolen truck slammed into two vehicles at Arrellaga and De La Vina, injuring three people, including a child.
But the chase didn't end there. Githens took off running south on De La Vina Street for several blocks with deputies and Santa Barbara police officers right behind him. They finally cornered Githens who surrendered at gunpoint.
A woman and two small boys, ages 6 and 4, were inside the stolen truck during the entire pursuit. Investigators are trying to determine if the woman and the boys are related to Githens. The woman was questioned by police and later released. The six year old boy was taken to the hospital where he was treated and released. Two other people in the cars that were hit by the truck were taken to the hospital. Their conditions are not known.
One person at the accident scene had to be extricated from a vehicle.
The intersection where the crash occurred was closed down for more than an hour while the vehicles were towed away and the debris was cleared up.
Githens faces a long list of criminal charges including child endangerment, felony evasion, being in the possession of a stolen vehicle, multiple vehicle code violations and a probation violation. He's in the Santa Barbara County Jail on $100,000 bond.
NewsChannel 3 discovered the truck was reported stolen in Ventura almost two weeks ago. We spoke with Shawn Echevarria via Skype about the day his work truck was stolen.
Echevarria owns a small painting business in the Ventura area. He said he walked outside one morning to go surfing and his truck with his wetsuit, surfboard and all of his work supplies to do his job were gone. At first he called local towing companies to find out if the truck was towed. It wasn't, so he called police and reported it stolen. He also posted pictures of his truck on Instagram.
About 5 p.m. Monday night he was shopping at Lowe's when people started calling his cell phone. "They said, 'I think I just saw your truck on Channel 3, is that your truck?" said Echevarria who was stunned that his stolen truck was on TV and wrecked.
"I feel bad about the kids who were involved and the people who were hurt. I just hope they're okay. I can replace my truck and all that other stuff," said Echevarria when he heard about how the chase ended.
Echevarria said he's been working with his insurance company to replace his stolen work truck and get back to work.
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