11/17/2006

Calif. officers fatally shoot suspect following chase

City News Service 
 

SOLANA BEACH- Sheriff's deputies and California Highway Patrol officers fatally shot a suspected drunken driver early today when he allegedly tried to run them down at the end of a 45-minute chase through the North County.

The chase began about 1:30 a.m., when the motorist refused to yield to the CHP on state Route 78, near Jefferson Street in Oceanside, sheriff's Lt. Dennis Brugos said.

The driver fled to the north on Interstate 5 and east on state Route 76 before heading south on streets and Interstate 5, Brugos said.

Reaching Carlsbad, the suspect sped west on Poinsettia Lane, then south into Encinitas on North Coast Highway 101, steering around several tire- flattening spike strips police laid in his path.

Near Estrella Street in Solana Beach, a CHP officer employed a "pursuit intervention technique," a maneuver in which a squad car is used to nudge a suspect's vehicle so it spins out and skids to a stop, Brugos said.

The move worked, but the motorist began driving again, crossing a median into northbound lanes, according to police. Officers made use of the vehicle- intervention method again, then used their cruisers to block his way.

At that point, the police personnel ordered the man to shut off his engine and put his hands up. He refused, instead ramming a deputy's car, backing up and accelerating "directly at the deputies and a CHP officer," Brugos said.

"It was at that time that CHP officers and deputies fired their handguns at the suspect," Brugos said. "The suspect's vehicle stopped a short distance away."

Medics pronounced the man dead at the scene. Officials withheld his name pending notification of his relatives.

Authorities shut down a stretch of the roadway to allow for investigations, leading to heavy congestion in the area throughout the day, the CHP reported.  
 
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