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Police chase ends in grinding crash
• 19-year-old flees from Ceres officer
Service & Pioneer crash
The cab and engine of this Jeep pickup driven by Wayne Whitfield of Hughson was severed in a high-speed impact at the intersection of Service and Pioneer roads Friday afternoon when another driver was fleeing from Ceres Police. Miraculously neither Whitfield nor Julian Jimenez, 19, of Ceres were injured in their respective wrecked vehicles.

A 19-year-old Ceres man led police on a high-speed pursuit Friday afternoon, resulting in a harrowing crash that tore the cab loose from a Jeep pickup in a rural Hughson intersection.

Miraculously the suspect and the driver he struck both walked away from the crash, which occurred at approximately 4 p.m. in the intersection of Service and Pioneer roads southwest of Hughson.

Wayne Whitfield, 57, of Hughson was driving his 2021 Jeep pickup eastbound on Service Road when he was struck at a high rate of speed by the northbound fleeing Ceres driver.

“I’m glad it wasn’t worse after finally getting to look at what was left of it and being able to somewhat walk away,” Whitfield posted on Facebook.” He explained how he was only sore after the impact tore loose the engine and sheared off the cab and swept it onto its side in the front yard of the house near the intersection.

Both Hughson Volunteer Fire Department and Keyes Fire Protection District responded to the scene of the crash, which resulted in the roads being closed for over two hours.

The pursuit was initiated by Ceres Police Officer Nicholas Welsh after he pulled over a silver-colored Jeep Cherokee driven by Julian Jimenez, 19, of Ceres in the area of the Richland Shopping Center. Jimenez was unlicensed and was told to surrender his keys since the vehicle would be towed. Jimenez sped off and the chase began.

The pursuit left the Ceres city limits in an eastbound direction and ended when Jimenez bypassed traffic stopped at the four-way Service/Pioneer intersection and collided into the Whitfield’s Jeep.

Two other vehicles were damaged by flying debris.

Mark Summerlot reported on social media that he saw the suspect’s Jeep passing him at over 100 mph just prior to the crash. “The impact was horrific,” posted Summerlot. “I thought the guy in the lack Jeep was dead until he came out and sat on the porch.”

After Jimenez’s vehicle rolled over and came to rest on its side, he attempted to run from police but was quickly apprehended in the 5600 block of Service Road.

A search of Jimenez’s wrecked vehicle yielded approximately five pounds of marijuana which police say was packaged for sales. Jimenez was booked into the Stanislaus County Public Safety Center on charges of evading police in a vehicle, fleeing the scene of an accident resulting in injuries, resisting arrest, driving without a license and possession of marijuana for sales.

As a sign of increased lawlessness in California, Ceres Police Department routinely engages with pursuits of suspects during attempted traffic stops with one turning deadly on Jan. 18. In that chase, Ceres police were in pursuit of a 20-year-old male Modesto driver in a 2016 Ford Fusion who refused to pull over and sped off. A chase came to an abrupt halt when the suspect’s car crashed into a southbound 2016 Ford Mustang driven by Joshua Guillen, 17, of Hughson at Keyes and Geer roads north of Turlock. 

The impact ejected both the suspect and his 20-year-old front seat male passenger, neither who were seat-belted. Both died instantly. Two passengers sustained major injuries.

Jimenez crash
The silver-colored Jeep driven by suspect Julian Jimenez, 19, of Ceres, was mangled on Friday afternoon when he struck a pickup while a fleeing Ceres Police officer. Jimenez (inset) was unharmed. - photo by Courtesy of Hughson Fire Dept.