Teen girl in stolen car leads police in high-speed chase that causes a fire, police say

A 16-year-old girl who was driving a stolen vehicle led Atwater Police into a high-speed pursuit before crashing into a power pole near Winton, authorities said.

According to the Atwater Police Department, an officer spotted the Honda Civic leaving Osborn Park in the 500 block of East Bellevue Road without the vehicle’s headlights turned on shortly after 2 a.m.

The officer attempted to pull the car over as it traveled west on Bellevue Road.

The teen, however, drove through a Walgreens parking lot and failed to yield to the officer before heading north on Shaffer Road.

The officer pursued with speeds reaching more than 95 mph and the teen running several stop signs, according to authorities.

Police said the teen driver lost control of the vehicle in the area of Shaffer Road and Fisher Road near Winton. She struck a power pole knocking down live wires.

The downed lines sparked a small grass fire, which quickly was extinguished by CalFire Merced County firefighters, according to Officer Anthony Cardoza.

Authorities discovered the vehicle had been stolen in Livingston. Police said they plan to file charges against the driver for reckless driving, evading a peace officer and possession of stolen property.

The juvenile driver, who is from Winton, was transported to a regional hospital.