Car jack suspects arrested after Highway 99 pursuit with Merced police

Two boys, ages 14 and 16, were arrested on suspicion of carjacking early Sunday after a short pursuit with Merced police.

The pursuit lasted five to 10 minutes, beginning about 2:30 a.m. near Childs Avenue and V Street and ending on southbound Highway 99 near Mission Avenue, according to Lt. Tom Trindad.

The incident happened not long after Merced police investigated a possible carjacking in South Merced. The victim, a man, told officers he had given the boys a ride. When they arrived at 12th Place and T Street, the boys pulled out handguns and pistol-whipped the man, Trinidad said, then took off in his vehicle.

The victim had facial injuries but refused medical treatment.

Shortly after the carjacking, Sgt. Joe Weiss spotted the vehicle in the area of Childs and V Street. Additional officers responded and turned on their sirens, but the driver wouldn't pull over.

Officers pursued the car onto southbound Highway 99, and the driver accelerated to up to 100 mph. Police requested assistance from the California Highway Patrol, who deployed a spike strip, Trindad said.

When the strip flattened one of the vehicle's tires the driver lost control, went off the road and came to a stop.

The 16-year-old ran, but the other boy stayed with the car.

Police, CHP and Merced County sheriff's deputies set up a perimeter while the sheriff's helicopter searched for the boy.

About 15 minutes later, a dog named Rex with the police department's K9 unit found the teen hiding in a storm drain. He was arrested without further incident.

Detectives are asking anyone with additional information to call Sgt. Scott Skinner at (209) 385-4702 or the department's tip line at (209) 385-4725. Calls are kept confidential and callers can remain anonymous. Tips can be sent via anonymous text messages by dialing "TIP411" (847411) and including the word "ComVIP" as the keyword in the text message.