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High-speed pursuit suspect arrested in Santa Maria after allegedly stealing 2 vehicles, killing cat

High-speed pursuit suspect arrested in Santa Maria after allegedly stealing 2 vehicles, killing cat

  • Updated

A 26-year-old Santa Maria man who is on probation was arrested Friday after he allegedly stole two vehicles, killed a cat, led officers on a high-speed chase where speeds exceeded 100 mph, drove the wrong way on the highway, tried to escape on foot and attempted to hide in a business.

Daniel Emilio RuizMedina was taken into custody about 12:40 p.m. in the 2900 block of Industrial Parkway in Santa Maria after a chase that started in Gaviota and lasted nearly an hour, according to the California Highway Patrol.

He was booked on suspicion of grand theft auto and attempting to evade police by driving against the flow of traffic, the CHP report said.

CHP officers were notified about 11:35 a.m. that a beige Honda had been stolen in the Goleta area, and the victim said the suspect might have entered northbound Highway 101.

About 20 minutes later, a CHP officer spotted the car northbound near Gaviota State Beach, and other units joined the chase near Damassa Road in Buellton, where the suspect accelerated to 95 mph, the CHP report said.

The suspect stopped the car in the center median, ran across the southbound lanes and entered a residential area on Jonata Park Road north of Buellton, where he located a white flatbed Chevrolet truck with the keys in the ignition.

Leaving the location, he ran over and killed the truck owner’s pet cat and damaged his fence before re-entering northbound Highway 101 and accelerating to speeds in excess of 100 mph, the CHP said.

Because of the unsafe speeds and danger to the public, the CHP units backed off but a helicopter continued to track the stolen truck while CHP officers set up a spike strip on the highway near Cat Canyon Road.

However, the suspect spotted the spike strip, swerved into the dirt center median at a high rate of speed, sending debris flying, and continued northbound in the southbound lanes, according to the CHP report.

He then crossed the median into the northbound lanes and continued in excess of 95 mph, causing several vehicles to swerve to avoid being struck from the rear by the truck, which eventually exited the freeway at Union Valley Parkway and headed west at more than 75 mph, the report said.

He drove north on Orcutt Road, then turned west onto Skyway Drive and then made a right onto Industrial Parkway where he jumped out of the truck and ran into the Westside Building Materials building, with officers pursuing close behind.

Inside, they found RuizMedina sitting at a desk, where he had allegedly donned a reflective vest like employees were wearing and put on a headset in an attempt to look like he worked there.

RuizMedina was taken into custody to be booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on on suspicion of the felony violations.

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