and BRIAN CLARK
The Modesto Bee
A Manteca man who led officers on a three-county chase was arrested Saturday night in Modesto, authorities reported Sunday.
Brett Phares, 28, wanted for questioning in Manteca burglaries, was spotted by Manteca police officers about 6:40 p.m. Saturday near the Carl's Jr. restaurant at 1485 Hulsey Way, just north of Highway 120.
Authorities said Phares also was wanted on suspicion of leading officers in a pursuit on Highway 99 on Friday night, which ended when the driver fled from the car and escaped into a cornfield.
When officers approached Phares on Saturday near the restaurant, police said he made a run for it, jumping a fence onto an onramp of southbound Highway 99.
He crossed the southbound lanes, then entered the northbound lanes, police said. But when he noticed an officer on the other side of the highway, he headed back, police said.
As cars and trucks slowed to avoid him, a collision occurred involving a motorcycle, police said. That's when a driver stopped on the freeway to help the injured motorcyclist. Police said the suspect jumped into the good Samaritan's car and drove south.
Police chased the car until it reached Modesto, when the California Highway Patrol took over. CHP officers followed the car, reaching speeds to 90 mph, until it left the highway near Atwater.
There, Phares is suspected of carjacking another vehicle, this one occupied by a news reporter from the Central Valley Report and some of his family members, according to the news organization. They got out of the car after a few minutes and were unharmed.
Phares made it back to Modesto, where officers from several agencies pursued him, stopping him on the freeway near the K Street overpass.
He tried to escape on foot, crossing the freeway, but officers tracked him down with the help of the sheriff's helicopter and took him into custody about 9 p.m.
Phares faces charges in San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Merced counties, including stealing a vehicle and evading arrest, the CHP said.
The CHP is investigating the accident that occurred on Highway 99 in Manteca as Phares was running across the freeway.
The conditions of those involved in that crash, including the motorcyclist, weren't available Sunday.