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Ghost ride leads to high-speed police chase, arrest
Ceres Cop Car

Suspicious actions at a vehicle stopped on Fowler Road led to a high-speed police pursuit on Tuesday evening, March 28, which ended in the arrest of a teenage driver who terrified his younger cousins who were riding in the car.

Officer Brian Petersen was patrol westbound on Fowler Road approaching Lunar Drive at 8:32 p.m. when he saw a white Dodge Journey SUV sitting in the road with the headlights on and the driver's door open. As Petersen neared he saw a male run from the front of the SUV and jump into the driver's seat. Petersen activated his emergency lights to stop the driver and investigate when the vehicle accelerated eastbound on Fowler Road at a high rate of speed, running the stop sign on Fowler Road at Lunar Drive.

The vehicle nearly collided into a vehicle at Fowler and Boothe roads before turning south onto Boothe Road at speeds of up to approximately 60 mph. The SUV nearly collided with a second vehicle, this one traveling westbound on Whitmore Avenue, as the suspect continued straight across Whitmore and hitting a dirt embankment and launching several feet into the air before landing nose first in a field. The SUV made a large circle in the dirt before coming back onto Whitmore Avenue and heading toward Hughson at speeds of 70 mph as it approached Faith Home Road. The driver blew through the stop sign there. At one point the driver turned off the headlights and by the time the vehicle hit 104 mph the lights were flipped back on.

Before reaching Hughson's city limits the suspect pulled over, as if to stop, but took off. The driver attempted to make a southbound turn onto Tully Road but was traveling too fast, causing the SUV's left wheels to strike the curb and crash into a vehicle parked on the east side of Tully Road. Officer Petersen blocked the passenger doors of the SUV with his left front bumper and held the occupants at gunpoint until backup officers arrived.

Officers were surprised to find that the car contained three terrified children - two boys, aged 11 and 12, and a 6-year-old female, all Ceres cousins of the driver.

Driver Julian Paulo, 18, of Stockton, told police he picked up his female cousin from dance class and was driving the children to their home but missed his turn. He drove a little further on Fowler Road when he decided to "ghost ride the whip," slang for the illegal practice of getting out of a moving vehicle to dance on the hood or near it. Paulo said he wanted to show off for his cousins by dancing on the hood as the SUV rolled forward slowly. When he saw the officer, he feared going to jail for driving without a license, panicked and fled.

The 6-year-old told Officer Petersen that she was screaming for her cousin to stop during the pursuit but he refused.

The parents of the juveniles were called to be picked up. Paulo went to jail on felony charges consisting of evading, child endangerment, and driving without a license.