California Highway Patrol officers fired on an escaped inmate when he tried to ram them with a stolen car this morning near Lodi, killing the fugitive and critically injuring a woman in his vehicle, a CHP spokesman said.
California Highway Patrol officer Angel Arceo said the CHP took over the pursuit of the stolen vehicle about 12:10 a.m. from Stockton police near Interstate 5 and March Lane.
Officers began and ended the pursuit twice due to the fleeing suspect's wild driving, said Arceo. The driver at times drove the wrong way on the freeway.
Arceo said that a CHP air unit kept tabs on the driver from above even when patrol cars had to cut off pursuit. Eventually officers in patrol cars caught up with the stolen car one last time.
That last pursuit ended after the suspect exited I-5 and took surface streets to Highway 99. He then left Highway 99 at Woodbridge Road.
Near there, CHP officers used a maneuver to stop the car with their vehicles. Officers then got out of the vehicles with guns drawn.
"They gave commands to the driver to exit his vehicle," said Arceo. "He failed to comply."
Instead, said Arceo, the suspect put the stolen car in reverse, traveling toward the officers. The stolen car hit one of the patrol cars on the passenger side where an officer was standing, said Arceo.
"The officer was able to get out of the way," said Arceo. "At which time, fearing for their safety, they discharged their weapons."
The vehicle then continued toward other officers at a high rate of speed in reverse. Officers continued to fire to "disable the vehicle and neutralize the threat," said Arceo.
The driver died at the scene. Arceo said at that point officers discovered the female passenger.
She had been struck at least once and was taken by CHP air ambulance to UC Davis Medical Center. She was reported in critical, yet stable, condition.
Arceo could not confirm earlier media reports that the woman was pregnant.
Arceo said that the dead man, whose name was not initially released, was a recent escapee from a San Joaquin County sheriff's honor farm. He had escaped on Aug. 9 and was actively being sought by the San Joaquin County sheriff's office.