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Two nabbed in car chase
A high-speed pursuit of a stolen vehicle that began in Keyes ended in a crash into an orchard near South Modesto Thursday afternoon.

"The suspects arrested in this case are dangerous criminals who have a pervasive history of crime, violent crime and reckless behavior in their past," said Ceres Police Chief Art deWerk. "The public will now be safer as a result of their capture."

Arrested were Rick Beets, 24, of Keyes, charged with possession of a stolen handgun; and Josh Macen, 20, of Modesto, arrested for hit and run, felony evasion of a police officer, felony evasion of an officer which caused injury and being a California Youth Authority parolee at large.

A female passenger in the car was Michelle Chen, 26, of Modesto.

The chase started at 12:46 p.m. and lasted nine minutes in light traffic.

An agent of StanCATT, the Stanislaus County Auto Theft Task Force, spotted a four-door Nissan Sentra that he knew to contain two wanted criminal passengers near Keyes and Golden State. The same Nissan was spotted the day prior following a known stolen truck.

The StanCATT officer requested assistance for stopping the vehicle. Once marked units from Ceres Police and the California Highway Patrol got behind the vehicle, the suspect driver sped away, leading the officers on a pursuit that reached estimated speeds of up to 100 mph.

The suspect drove northbound onto Highway 99 and took off at the Tuolumne exit in Modesto, entering Crows Landing Road to Hatch Road. The chase continued on westbound Hatch Road to Carpenter Road where the suspect drove into a stopped vehicle at Hatch near Crowslanding roads. Nobody was injured and damage to the vehicle was minor.

The suspects kept fleeing with one of the suspects tossing a handgun out the window. Once on Carpenter Road, the chase continued for several miles when the suspect sideswiped an oncoming van, causing it to lose its rear axle and roll over.

The passengers in the van sustained minor bruises. The sideswipe caused the suspect vehicle to veer off the road and into an orchard on Carpenter.

All three riders in the Nissan were injured and transported to the hospital with varying degrees of injuries.

Macen, the driver, was a parolee-at-large stemming from a felony house shooting. He has been at large since June. He also has an outstanding felony warrant for violating his parole. He was also wanted for an auto theft case from two weeks ago.

Beets, sitting in the back passenger seat, had been arrested the day prior by STANCATT for auto theft but was released from jail. Beets is also suspected of a residential burglary in Ceres in which a gun safe was taken with jewelry, personal identification information, and multiple firearms. It's believed that the loaded and cocked .45 caliber gun tossed out the window was taken in the Ceres burglary. Beets was also on probation for domestic violence and accepting stolen property.

DeWerk said there was a receipt in the car that shows that Beets' girlfriend paid $450 to a bail bond company to spring him from the county jail the day prior.