LOS BANOS — A man who was pulled over by police suddenly tried to drive off, triggering a high-speed chase that ended in a crash along Interstate5, authorities reported Tuesday.
According to police, officer Jairo Acosta was parked in the 1100 Block of D Street at 5:16p.m. Monday when he observed 35-year-old Fredrick Miller of Los Banos driving in an older model Ford truck. Authorities say the officer was aware a felony narcotics warrant had been issued for Miller’s arrest and stopped the truck near D Street and Mercey Springs Road.
After stopping, police said, the driver of the truck accelerated away from the area and the pursuit began.
The truck headed toward the dirt service road, north of the Rail Trail, and eventually left the city limits south on Mercey Springs Road. The pickup continued onto the northbound lanes of I-5, but after half a mile it crossed over the center median and turned onto the southbound lanes.
Police said the truck headed south on I-5 for three miles before again crossing the center median and back onto the northbound lanes. The pickup went off the freeway and then attempted to drive up a steep embankment, but was unable to make it and was hit by the Acosta’s patrol car.
The front driver’s side door of the truck was open when the officer’s cruiser collided with the vehicle.
Following the accident, Miller complained of pain and was taken by ambulance to Memorial Hospital, Los Banos. Police said that when Miller arrived at the hospital he informed paramedics he has ongoing medical conditions. The decision was then made to fly him to a Modesto area hospital. Acosta was not injured in the crash.
Police arrested Miller on suspicion of having an active felony warrant and fleeing a law enforcement officer in a vehicle with disregard for public safety.
Cmdr. Ray Reyna Jr. said an investigation will likely occur to determine whether Acosta was at fault in the accident. The patrol car’s front end and hood were damaged in the crash. Reyna said the department’s insurance company will decide if the car is totaled.