Authorities on Thursday identified the person they say led police on a wild chase through two counties Wednesday night as a 30-year-old Oakdale man.
Police took Shane Collins into custody in Modesto on Wednesday night after a chase that began two hours earlier in Merced County.
Collins was booked into the Stanislaus County Jail on charges of being in possession of a stolen vehicle and evading arrest, California Highway Patrol spokesman Officer Eric Parsons said Thursday. Collins was armed with a pistol when he was arrested in a neighborhood south of Davis High School, Parsons said.
The chase began about 6:30 p.m. when Merced CHP officers spotted a vehicle reported stolen earlier in the day. The driver refused to pull over, and the chase headed north on Highway 165 through Stevinson, then into Turlock and onto Highway 99 north, where the Modesto CHP joined the pursuit.
A CHP officer was able to flatten the vehicles left tires with a spike strip near Keyes Road, Parsons said. A spike strip at Highway 99 and Maze Boulevard flattened the right front tire, but the driver continued, exiting the highway at Briggsmore Avenue, Parsons said.
The pursuit continued on city streets, getting as far north as Standiford Avenue and Colonial Drive, east of Tully Road.
Drivers throughout the area reported seeing the chase with more than a dozen patrol cars involved. Several people posted photos and video of the action on social media.
Eventually, the driver ended up in the parking lot at Davis High School, where he left the vehicle and ran into a residential neighborhood, Parsons said.
Modesto police assisted the CHP in establishing a search perimeter, Parsons said. Students and parents, on campus at Davis High for meetings and orchestra rehearsal, were put on lockdown during the search. Officers were warned that Collins could be armed, because an ammunition magazine but no gun was found in the vehicle.
About 8:40 p.m., authorities found Collins hiding in a backyard, Parsons said. He had covered himself in axle grease, apparently in an effort to avoid detection.