A 43-year-old Merced man led Ceres Police on a lengthy high-speed pursuit into San Joaquin County in a stolen car last week.
After observing traffic violations, Officer Brian Chandler attempted to stop the driver of a Toyota Camry on Whitmore Avenue at 3:07 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 9. Driver Jesse West, 43, of Merced, then accelerated onto northbound Highway 99 at speeds of up to 100 mph. The California Highway Patrol was asked to take over the pursuit as it passed through Modesto but had no units available.
Officer Chandler continued chasing West into San Joaquin County where the suspect’s car clipped another vehicle while making a lane change north of the Jack Tone Road exit. Both cars spun out with the suspect’s car coming to rest in the middle of the highway and the other leaving the freeway, cutting through the oleanders and onto the frontage road. That driver had minor injuries but declined medical attention.
West was ordered from his vehicle and arrested. He refused to speak to officers or give his name. He was later identified by fingerprints at the jail.
West was found to be on parole and the Toyota had recently been stolen in Merced. He faces charges of felony evading an officer, grand theft auto, possession of a stolen vehicle and violation of parole.