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Explosive device found in vehicle abandoned in Ceres
Jonathan Alan Lewis
Jonathan Alan Lewis

A Turlock man who twice fled from police officers and had an explosive device in his vehicle, was apprehended in Solano County after again trying to flee from officers.

The suspect, Jonathan Alan Lewis, 23, of Turlock was arrested on suspicion of aggravated assault, hit and run, evading an officer, resisting arrest and possession of a destructive device.

The incident began shortly before 7 a.m. on May 5, when Turlock Police officers were dispatched to a gas station at 101 North Tully Road for a suspicious vehicle. Officers arrived on scene and located a black Nissan sedan that was described in the call. Officers could see there was a male behind the wheel who was awake and moving inside. They also suspected the man was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, said Turlock Police spokesman Sgt. Michael Parmley.

Officers spoke with Lewis, through heavily tinted glass, ordering him to open the driver door, but he refused. Officers opened the door and ordered Lewis to get out, but instead he started to drive away in reverse.

Officers were giving Lewis orders to stop, but he ignored them and continued driving backwards, striking one of the police officers. Parmley said the officer was not injured.

Lewis continued in reverse until he struck a pole near the gas pumps.

Lewis then accelerated out of the gas station parking lot, initiating a police pursuit. 

Lewis drove northbound on Highway 99 and then exited onto eastbound Fulkerth Road. He turned north onto North Golden State Boulevard, near Pedras Road. At that point the police officers called off the pursuit to prevent any potential injury to other motorists or pedestrians in the area.

The driver continued toward Keyes as officers trailed behind. Several minutes later, the vehicle was located parked in Keyes.  When officers attempted to contact the driver a second time, the vehicle fled again, nearly striking a different officer and hitting a parked police motorcycle. 

The car was found abandoned in Ceres and seized as evidence.

“As a matter of standard practice and law, the vehicle was not searched at that time and was stored in a vehicle evidence bay at the Public Safety Facility,” Parmley said. 

A search warrant was obtained and the vehicle was searched on Wednesday. During this search, an improvised explosive device was located inside the passenger compartment, which caused for a partial evacuation of the Public Safety Facility. 

The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Bomb Squad was called to the Public Safety Facility to recover the device from the vehicle. The explosive device was removed from the vehicle, later analyzed and confirmed to be an explosive, Parmley said.

Officers were able to identify Lewis as the suspect and a warrant was issued for his arrest. 

Lewis was arrested Friday afternoon in Solano County after he led local authorities on another pursuit which ended in a vehicle collision. In addition to the charges he is facing in Stanislaus County, Lewis will also be facing additional criminal charges in Solano County.

Turlock Police Detectives, the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Bomb Squad and Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives served a search warrant at Lewis’ apartment. Additional evidence connected to Lewis’ crimes was located and seized by police.

Turlock Police ask that anyone with information about this investigation to call Officer Richard Fortado at (209) 664-7399.