A 19-year-old Winton man was jailed Saturday after allegedly leading law enforcement on a wild high-speed chase in a stolen Toyota Prius, the Merced County Sheriff’s Office said.
Alec R. Gonzales Jr. was arrested after the pursuit, which lasted about 15 minutes and reached speeds above 100 mph in the Winton area, deputies said.
Inside the stolen vehicle, deputies found a stolen shotgun, a bulletproof vest, ammunition for several firearms and some marijuana, Sgt. Ray Framstad said.
Deputy Simon Sarkis was on his way home after his shift around 7:50 p.m. when he spotted a Prius that matched the description of a stolen vehicle. Sarkis followed the vehicle and a chase ensued, Sgt. Delray Shelton said.
The lengthy chase wound through several streets and county roads before it ended on Center Street when the driver, later identified by investigators as Gonzales, stopped the car, ran through a city block and tried to hide in his grandmother’s nearby home, deputies said.
Deputies, along with officers from the Atwater Police Department and California Highway Patrol, surrounded the area and found Gonzales a short time later. He was arrested without incident.
He was booked into the Merced County jail on suspicion of evading law enforcement, resisting arrest and possession of stolen property. Bail was set at more than $61,000, according to jail records.
The vehicle had been reported stolen out of San Francisco, deputies said.
Rob Parsons: 209-385-2482