January 31, 2012

Driver arrested after stolen truck crashes into fence at South Merced police station

A truck stolen early Tuesday morning was recovered after the alleged thief drove it to the Merced Police Department's South Sub-Station and plowed through a chain link fence.

Police arrested Ronnie Chestnut, 26, around 10:30 a.m. Tuesday after he crashed the stolen Chevrolet extended-cab pickup through the chain link fence behind the South Merced police station. The truck had been reported stolen from the 1400 block of West 16th early Tuesday morning. Lt. Tom Trindad said the truck's driver was spotted by an Amtrak police officer at the train station near 24th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way, where he allegedly stole a train passenger's bag. The Amtrak officer called Merced police dispatch to request assistance, and Merced police saw Chestnut driving south on K Street.

Officers made an attempt to pull the truck over in South Merced, but Chestnut instead drove through the north end of McNamara Park, stopping the vehicle once it crashed through the fence. Trindad said Chestnut started to run from the scene, but stopped once officers shouted orders at him. He was arrested and taken to Merced County Jail, Trindad said.

The truck suffered front-end damage, and Trindad estimated the fence could cost between $2,500 and $5,000 to repair.

Anyone with information on this incident may call the Merced Police Department at (209) 388-7774 or the department's anonymous tip line at (209) 385-4725.

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