Los Banos chase ends in fiery crash

Merced Sun StarJuly 30, 2013 

CHARLES GUEST/cguest@losbanosenterprise.com Los Banos Firefighters arrive on-scene to douse a Chrysler Seabring which started on fire after hitting a ground level power transformer on Wildrye Avenue. The car was involved in a pursuit which began on Birch Avenue late Saturday night.

CHARLES GUEST — Los Banos Enterprise

— A high-speed chase here during the weekend ended in a fiery crash, Los Banos police Cmdr. Ray Reyna Jr. reported Monday.

A 911 caller reported a possible drunken driver in a black 2004 Chrysler 300 near Sequoia Way and Eucalyptus Drive in Los Banos about 11:30 p.m. Saturday, police said.

Sgt. Jason Hedden spotted a Chrysler 300 headed north on Eucalyptus, police said, and stopped the vehicle after it ran a stop sign.

Police said 34-year-old Alberto Fernandez was driving the car.

As the sergeant walked toward the Chrysler, police said, the car sped away. A high-speed chase ensued, lasting about one minute.

The driver lost control of the car near Wildrye Avenue and Bellflower Way, police said, and crashed into some power equipment at the intersection. The Chrysler then caught fire where it came to rest.

Fernandez tried to leave the area on foot, police said, but several residents detained him until officers could put handcuffs on him.

Police said a records check turned up an arrest warrant on Fernandez, who is wanted in Santa Clara County on suspicion of felony evading law enforcement officers in a vehicle.

Police said a breath test determined Fernandez had a blood-alcohol level of 0.09 percent. The legal limit is 0.08.

No injuries were reported as a result of the crash.

Fernandez is in custody at the Los Banos Police Department Jail, in lieu of $54,484 bail, on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, felony evading a police officer in a vehicle and the felony warrant.

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