Crash into downtown Merced building stops car cold after hot pursuit

August 27, 2013 

— Seven juveniles were arrested late Sunday after a vehicle pursuit ended with a crash into a G Street commercial building.

According to Merced police, the incident was reported about 11:45 p.m. when officer Nathan McKinnon was patrolling near 18th and G streets and saw a speeding white 1991 Toyota Camry.

The officer attempted to stop the car, which had seven occupants, but the 16-year-old male driver accelerated and the car ran through several stop signs, police said.

The Camry's driver lost control and crashed into the building in the 1700 block of G Street. The car partially entered the offices of Courtesy Staffing, breaking down a wall and leaving the interior exposed to the outdoors.

All seven juveniles were detained at the crash scene. Three of the juveniles complained of pain and were taken to Mercy Medical Center Merced for treatment.

After officers learned that the Camry was reported stolen in Merced, the driver was arrested and booked into Merced County Juvenile Hall on suspicion of auto theft, driving under the influence, evading arrest and several vehicle code violations.

The other juveniles were arrested and later released to their parents.

Workers were inside the offices of Courtesy Staffing on Monday, removing pieces of drywall and wood from the spot where the car had smashed into the building. Meanwhile, employees moved computers and other valuables to undamaged areas of the building.

It's unknown how much damage the crash caused, although workers estimated several thousand dollars in repairs would be needed.

Sarah De La Rosa, general manager for Courtesy Staffing, said her employees are still working at the office, although it will probably be another week before the office is fully open for business.

De La Rosa said she's just thankful none of the company's employees or anyone else was inside when the crash happened.

Police are asking anyone with any information to call Sgt. Scott Skinner at (209) 385-6913 or (209) 385-4702, or the department's tip line at (209) 385-4725. The public can send information via anonymous text messages to the police department by dialing "TIP411" (847411) and including the word "Comvip" as the keyword in the text message.

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