Northern Calif. driver arrested after wild police pursuit


By Cassandra Braun
The Contra Costa Times

RODEO, Calif.  A parolee is in custody this morning after leading police on a high-speed chase that spanned Contra Costa County.

Authorities arrested the driver about 10:30 a.m. after his Jeep Cherokee petered out on westbound Interstate 80 near Rodeo, California Highway Patrol spokesman Scott Yox said.

The arrest culminated a pursuit that reached speeds in excess of 95 mph, and led authorities on and off three different freeways.

The incident began around 10 a.m. in Bay Point, when a Contra Costa sheriff's deputy tried to stop the Jeep because of the male driver appeared to be casing a Bay Point laundry mat.

As the deputy approached the SUV, the driver sped away onto eastbound Highway 4, leading deputies west toward Martinez, where the Jeep exited Franklin Canyon Road and then got back onto Highway 4 to westbound I-80, Yox said.

Trailed by CHP cruisers, who joined the pursuit soon after, sheriff's deputies and local police, the driver exited onto San Pablo Avenue, where he briefly drove into oncoming southbound traffic before heading north in the correct lanes.

The driver got back onto eastbound I-80 at Richmond Parkway, when his SUV inexplicably lost power and came to a stop, Yox said.

The driver was taken into custody without incident, Yox said. His identity was not immediately released.

No injuries were initially reported, but authorities are trying to determine whether the Jeep struck an unoccupied school bus on Highway 4, east of the Solano exit,

Copyright 2007 Contra Costa Times

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