A 41-year-old Merced man was arrested on Tuesday, Sept. 15 after he fled a Highway 99 accident with a stolen car he was driving and invaded someone's home as he tried to dodge police.
The California Highway Patrol responded to the accident and then involved the Ceres Police Department at 8:54 a.m. in finding the driver of the hit and run vehicle. The suspect, Michael Smith, was located at Giddings Street at Paramount Avenue. Ceres Police Department spokesman Lt. Chris Perry said that Smith was seen running and jumping residential fences. Police set up a perimeter.
Meanwhile Smith forced his way into an occupied house and held the occupants hostage for a brief time while ordering them not to say anything. Lt. Perry said that Smith fled the house, where he was spotted, and that he jumped a fence and landed in a filled backyard swimming pool.
Smith was booked into the Stanislaus County Jail on charges of auto theft, resisting arrest, home invasion and kidnapping.