Merced County sheriff's deputies are searching for a 29-year-old Winton man who allegedly led authorities on a high-speed chase through the Beachwood area Sunday night.
Ezekeil Botwright allegedly ran a stop sign at Bellevue Road and Franklin Road while driving a 1994 red Volkswagen. He was stopped by Deputy Chris Sziraki, but drove away after Sziraki asked to see his driver's license a second time, according to Deputy Tom MacKenzie.
The chase reached speeds more than 100 mph, with Botwright weaving in and out of traffic, the sheriff's department said. He ran the red light at Santa Fe Drive and Franklin Road, and continued to Fox Road near U.S. Penitentiary, Atwater, where he jumped an embankment, flying through the air and striking a tree in an almond orchard.
Deputies set up a perimeter around the orchard, but Botwright got away.
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Botwright has three felony warrants for his arrest, including two for violation of probation and one for possession of stolen property. He is also wanted for felony evading a peace officer.
Deputies are asking anyone with information on Botwright's location to call (209) 385-7444. Calls are kept confidential and you can remain anonymous.
-- Sun Star staff