Afternoon Newsletter

Merced police arrest 30-year-old Turlock man after pursuit

A 30-year-old Turlock man was arrested on Wednesday after a four-minute pursuit with Merced police through north Merced.

Jason Rocha was taken into custody after he crashed a stolen car near the north end of R Street, according to Lt. Bimley West.

The pursuit began not long after police dispatch received a call about a suspicious person who appeared to be trying to break into a green Mitsubishi Montero in the Lowe's parking lot in the 1700 block of West Olive Avenue.

Officers responded to the area and saw someone driving the Montero in the area of West Olive Avenue and Highway 59, West said.

Rocha, the driver, made a right turn onto Highway 59 from West Olive Avenue and sped up to around 80 mph.

Officers pursued the vehicle and confirmed the Montero was stolen from the Turlock area. West speculated Rocha may have been trying to break in to the Montero in the Lowe's parking lot because he didn't have the keys.

The pursuit continued north onto R Street, and Rocha tried to escape from police by driving through a dirt field. The chase came to an end, however, after Rocha crashed into a ditch. He was arrested at the scene.

Rocha has an extensive arrest history in Stanislaus County, West said. The suspect was booked into the Merced County Jail on suspicion of felony evading law enforcement and being in possession of a stolen vehicle.

-- Sun-Star staff