Two arrested after Ceres-Modesto chase

Two people were arrested early Wednesday after a car chase that led police officers from downtown Ceres and through the streets of south Modesto, authorities said.

At 12:52 a.m., an officer was about to stop a car on a traffic violation on El Camino Avenue when the driver took off in a 1989 Nissan 240 and headed north and onto Highway 99, according to Ceres police Sgt. Dennis Perry.

Police followed and the suspected driver, David Woolsey, 37, of Modesto, exited on Hatch Road, heading west. Woolsey sped through neighborhoods before police attempted to stop the car by using a "PIT maneuver," Perry said.

The Police Intervention Technique is a tactic where a pursuing officer drives his car alongside a suspect's car and taps the back panel to force the suspect's car into a spin and hopefully an engine stall.

The suspect's car spun out, but the driver was able to continue. He drove through the chain link fence of a home on Pecos Avenue and headed south on Ninth Street. He then drove onto the south Ninth Street offramp from Highway 99, which would have placed him northbound in oncoming traffic, Perry said.

However, his female passenger, Tiffani Knight, 18, of Modesto, fearing an accident, grabbed hold of the steering wheel before the car made the highway. It crashed into the ice plant that borders the offramp, Perry said.

She then fled the vehicle, but was quickly tracked down by a police dog. The driver ran across the freeway but was apprehended while trying to hide in the back yard of a home on Bystrom Road.

Woolsey was arrested on suspicion of auto theft and other violations, including one tied to another recent auto theft. Knight was booked for possession of stolen property, resisting arrest and two misdemeanor drug warrants. Both were booked at the Stanislaus County Jail.