A 15-year-old boy was arrested Saturday after a high-speed pursuit that sometimes looked like scenes from "The Fast and the Furious" films.
The chase involving the teen and Merced County sheriff's deputies and CHP officers passed through the Hilmar/Turlock area.
Deputies aren't releasing the teen's name because of his age. The car was taken from a group home, where the suspect lives, in the 2000 block of Youngstown Road in Turlock, said deputy Tom MacKenzie, Merced County sheriff's spokesman.
The chase, which lasted about 30 minutes, began around 6 p.m. after Deputy Preston Sanchez responded to a stolen vehicle report. The report, taken by the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department, was about a silver 2010 Chevrolet Traverse SUV last seen heading from Turlock toward Hilmar, MacKenzie said.
The deputy spotted the SUV speeding northbound on Lander Avenue. The deputy tried pulling the car over, but the teen sped away, reaching speeds of more than 100 mph as the pursuit wound through Hilmar. Deputies tried stopping the SUV with spike strips, but the suspect avoided them by driving into a sweet potato field near Geer Road and Griffith Avenue. The pursuit continued into an almond orchard, where the SUV struck a small tree, MacKenzie said.
The teen then aimed the SUV at the deputy's car, striking its bumper as the deputy left his car, trying to order the driver out of the vehicle. The teen took off again and the pursuit continued onto Lander Avenue toward Turlock.
The teen drove erratically at speeds between 95 and 100 mph, running stop signs and forcing other cars off the road.
After the teen saw the Stanislaus County sheriff's deputy in front of him, and several Merced County sheriff's deputies and CHP officers behind him, he slammed his brakes, swerving across the road, striking deputy Sanchez's car again while coming to a stop.
The teenager was arrested without further incident. Deputies later learned he'd stolen the SUV because other youngsters staying at the group home dared him. MacKenzie said one of the teens found the SUV's keys, and egged the suspect on by saying he was "scared."
The teen, who wasn't injured during the pursuit, was booked into Merced Juvenile Hall on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon (for ramming the patrol car), felony evading a police officer, hit and run, resisting arrest and driving without a license. He's being held without bail.
Reporter Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or firstname.lastname@example.org.