Hilmar woman arrested after high-speed chase

08/21/2014 12:21 PM

08/21/2014 4:32 PM

A high-speed chase ended Wednesday night in Merced County with a Hilmar woman behind bars facing possible felony charges.

Maricruz E. Hamaguchi, 26, apparently tried to outrun California Highway Patrol officers, allegedly while driving drunk in a 2010 Hyundai Elantra, Officer Victor Quiralte said.

CHP officers spotted a speeding vehicle at 10:07 p.m. heading north on V Street in Merced. The driver, later identified by the CHP as Hamaguchi, turned east onto Main Street and did not pull over when officers tried to stop the vehicle, Quiralte said.

The vehicle sped through several streets before turning onto northbound Highway 99. The pursuit reached a speed of more than 90 mph on the highway, officers said.

The suspect vehicle crashed into the back of a 2006 Toyota Corolla just south of Franklin Road before speeding away again. No one was injured, the CHP said.

The vehicle then took the Franklin exit, where the driver lost control of the car on the off-ramp, spun around and slammed into a guard rail. The driver sped away again and turned north onto Buhach Road and west onto Juniper Avenue, pulled over near Bridgewater Street and abandoned the vehicle, then ran away, the CHP said.

Hamaguchi was arrested a short time later, Quiralte said.

“She complained of head and neck pain and was taken to the hospital for medical clearance before she was booked into jail,” Quiralte said.

Hamaguchi was arrested on suspicion of felony evading law enforcement, drunken driving, hit-and-run and driving on a suspended license. She remained in custody Thursday at the Merced County Jail on nearly $54,000 bail, according to Merced County Sheriff’s Department records.

Hamaguchi has been in and out of jail numerous times in Merced County since 2011, according to Merced Superior Court records.

She pleaded guilty March 5, 2011 to felony counts of elder abuse and vehicle theft, as well as a misdemeanor count of vandalism. She was sentenced to six months in jail and was ordered to complete a residential drug treatment program. Three months later, Hamaguchi pleaded guilty to two felony counts of domestic violence and was sentenced to a year in jail, court records show.

In June 2013, she pleaded guilty to misdemeanor vandalism and drug charges and received a 90-day jail sentence, according to court records.

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