Four arrested after vehicle pursuit with Merced police

01/11/2013 7:48 AM

01/12/2013 12:16 AM

Two 18-year-olds and two male juveniles were taken into custody Thursday night after a vehicle pursuit with Merced police.

The chase started at 9:38 p.m. after an officer noticed someone driving a 1996 Hyundai erratically near North West Bear Creek Drive and R Street, according to Sgt. Rodney Court.

The driver of the car refused to pull over for police, and the pursuit lasted for nearly four minutes, covering about two miles at a relatively low speed.

The driver sped down alleyways during the chase, passing through several stop signs.

During the pursuit, one of the suspects threw a handgun out the window, police said.

The vehicle traveled down West 25th Street until it dead-ended into Bear Creek. Just before the levee, the 15-year-old driver and three passengers jumped out of the moving car before it plunged into the creek.

Police said the water in the creek was fairly low and not moving fast. The vehicle went to the bottom of the creek, with its front end partially submerged in water.

Two of the suspects were taken into custody on the levee, and the other two ran across a pedestrian bridge to the north side of Bear Creek.

Officers from the Gang Unit pursued the pair on foot and they were taken into custody. The loaded gun was recovered by officers.

Police said all four suspects are documented gang members. The two adults, Bryan Benevides and Jose Maldonado, both 18, were booked at Merced County Jail. The juveniles, ages 15 and 16, were booked at juvenile hall.

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