A 21-year-old Empire woman suffered major injuries when struck by an Empire man, 22, who was fleeing authorities in a stolen car late Wednesday, the California Highway Patrol reported.
The pursuit of David William Rodney Fannon, driving a 1998 Acura Integra, began in Merced, the CHP said. He headed north, and the chase was discontinued about five minutes prior to the crash because of the suspect’s reckless driving, according to the incident report.
Still, Fannon continued north on Santa Fe Avenue “at an extreme high rate of speed,” the CHP said.
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As he approached South Avenue, he failed to see a Nissan Murano coming south on Santa Fe and preparing to make a left turn into a private driveway, the report notes.
Because of his unsafe speed, he was unable to slow, the CHP said, and the left front of the Acura hit the left front of the Nissan, driven by Anna R. McKenzie.
The impact drove the Nissan backward, where it became disabled and blocked portions of both lanes of Santa Fe. Fannon continued northeast, out of control, until the Acura left the roadway, went off the shoulder and struck a bush.
Propelled into the air, the Acura came to rest on its left side after hitting the ground again. Fannon was pinned in and had to be extricated by emergency personnel. Both the Modesto Fire Department and Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District had crews on scene.
Firefighters reported Fannon possibly was armed, but the CHP report does not confirm that.
McKenzie was taken to Memorial Medical Center, Fannon to Doctors Medical Center.
At Doctors, Fannon’s sobriety was evaluated and he was determined to be under the influence of drugs at the time of the crash, the CHP said. He was arrested on suspicion of felony DUI causing great bodily injury.
The Modesto-area CHP took the stolen-vehicle report on the Acura on Jan. 5, spokesman Officer Thomas Olsen said.
Fannon has prior convictions for possession of stolen vehicles, possession of controlled substances and fleeing peace officers with reckless disregard for safety, according to Stanislaus County Superior Court records.
Bee reports on prior vehicle-theft arrests show him as a Modesto resident or a transient.