5 hurt in Modesto as high-speed chase ends with collision

What started as a report of vandalism ended with a high-speed collision that left five people hurt Monday evening. Their identities and conditions were not available.

The collision happened about 6:50 p.m. on Carpenter Road just south of Whitmore Avenue.

According to Modesto Police Detective Darren Ruskamp, officers responded to a vandalism call. Ruskamp did not know where the call was, but said the victim of the vandalism was chasing the suspect prior to officers arriving.

“An officer happened to see these vehicles racing past him and was able to stop the suspect,” Ruskamp said.

As the officer approached the car, the driver took off down Carpenter Road.

Gerardo Valencia said he was driving south on Carpenter when he saw the silver Kia behind him, “passing five cars.”

Valencia, 43, who had his three children in his Kia Sportage, tried to turn out of the way, but the other car hit his left front fender before colliding head-on with a Yukon Denali and flipping, end over end, Valencia said.

The silver Kia and the Denali came to rest in an orchard on the east side of Carpenter.

The California Highway Patrol is handling the investigation because it happened outside the city limit. CHP Sgt. Jason Bartlett said the silver Kia was making an “unsafe passing movement” around the Sportage when the cars collided, rotating the silver Kia and sending it into the northbound-traveling Denali.

Two women and a man were trapped in the silver Kia. Emergency workers freed the women and took them to ambulances; it took them nearly an hour to extricate the driver. The two people in the Denali also were hurt and taken to hospitals for treatment.

Ruskamp said police were never in pursuit of the suspect, and the accident happened before the officer even got back into his patrol car.

“We were uninvolved other than the officer did make the traffic stop,” Ruskamp said.

The wreck blocked traffic on Carpenter Road until 8:50 p.m. The CHP is investigating the accident, which happened outside the city limits.

Related stories from Merced Sun-Star