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Red light runner leads police on chase in stolen car
Passenger arrested for resisting arrest
Vargas combo arrest
Jesse Vargas and Jennifer Cruz were arrested on separate charges on New Year's Day.

A 38-year-old Modesto man faces a number of charges after he got the attention of a Ceres Police officer by running a red light on New Year’s day and then led a high-speed pursuit through Modesto, Empire and Hughson.

At 9:14 p.m., Officer Frederico Ortiz attempted to stop the driver of a black Hyundai Tucson after running a red light. The driver, Jesse Vargas, 38, of Modesto, ignored the officer’s emergency lights and siren, and sped up. A moment later Officer Ortiz learned that the Hyundai was stolen in Colorado. 

The chase ended when Vargas drove into an orchard near N. Quincy and E. Grayson roads and collided with a pile of wood in the orchard. With the car disabled, Vega fled on foot but was located with the help of the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department helicopter.

His passenger, Jennifer Cruz, 31, also of Modesto, was found and arrested near the Hyundai from which she tried to flee. She was charged with resisting arrest.

A search of the car turned up a firearm.

Vega was found to have an outstanding arrest warrant issued by the State of Alaska and was booked into the Stanislaus County Public Safety Center for the warrant. He faces several felony charges that include evading a peace officer with a vehicle, auto theft, possession of stolen property, possession of a firearm and ammunition by a prior felon.