suspect's car

A car driven by robbery suspect Demetrius Ford, of Los Angeles, was damaged in a crash on Highway 154 following a pursuit by sheriff's deputies.

Contributed photo

A Los Angeles man was arrested near Cachuma Lake on Wednesday morning after allegedly robbing VIP Tobacco in Solvang and leading law enforcement on a chase south on Highway 154, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office.

A man and woman who were reportedly involved in the robbery at the store in the 600 block of Alamo Pintado Road were last seen leaving the parking lot in a red Mitsubishi Eclipse, according to officials.

A matching vehicle passed responding deputies at Highway 246 and Casino Way. The deputies tried to conduct a traffic stop on the vehicle, activating overhead emergency lights, but the driver reportedly refused to yield and sped away.

The driver, who was later identified as Demetrius Ford, 31, of Los Angeles, merged onto Highway 154 at a high rate of speed. Due to public safety concerns, deputies ended the pursuit.

Several minutes later, however, Ford crashed into several motorists in the 3500 block of Highway 154, with one of the motorists sustaining minor injuries, according to officials. 

Deputies discovered that Ford had fled the crash scene in his vehicle and subsequently rammed a closed gate at a neighboring ranch in the 4000 block of Highway 154, then collided with a tree.

Ford continued to avoid capture by fleeing on foot from the crash scene and attempted to steal another vehicle parked at the ranch, according to officials.

Deputies were able to get into the locked vehicle via a window and removed Ford from the truck, taking him into custody without further incident.

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It was later determined that the female, who has not been identified, was not in the vehicle that Ford was driving. An investigation is continuing to determine her identity and level of involvement.

Personnel from Santa Barbara County Fire Department responded and American Medical Response personnel treated Ford and transported him to the hospital with moderate injuries.

He was booked in absentia on an outstanding no-bail, drug-related probation warrant from Los Angeles County as well as suspicion of providing a false name to a peace officer, shoplifting, reckless evading, felony hit-and-run resulting in injury, felony vandalism, resisting/threatening a peace officer, vehicle theft, possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of tear gas by a prohibited person/felon and driving on a suspended license. 

Ford will be transported to the Santa Barbara County Jail after he is medically cleared from the hospital, according to officials.