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100 mph chase ends up on railroad trestle

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100 mph chase ends up on railroad trestle

Officers Jason Massey and Tom Nunes check a wrecked Silverado pickup they chased down the railroad tracks and onto the railroad trestle over the Stanislaus River Thursday night.

GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin


POSTED March 20, 2009 5:22 a.m.
William Stockton, 31, ran out of escape route options and took to the railroad tracks in Ripon Thursday night after Manteca Police officers Jason Massey and Tom Nunes chased him for more than 20 miles at speeds reaching 100 miles an hour.

Stockton drove on to the rails just south of Ripon and officers followed him in two Dodge Charger police units on the railroad right-of-way.  The fleeing ex-felon went onto the tracks and made it half-way across the Union Pacific Railroad trestle over the Stanislaus River when his blew his left rear tire.

The two officers ran up the tracks some 100 yards away and watched the fleeing suspect disappear into the darkness – but not for long.

Sergeants Chris Mraz and Mike Sexon had been monitoring the pursuit on their radio and drove to the other end of the railroad bridge, almost to Hammett Road.  They got there about the same time the suspect exited the bridge attempting to get away from the two pursuing officers.

Mraz said it appeared Stockton was going to run down the slope on the west side of the tracks.  The watch commander said he yelled at him to stop to no avail.  Then he shouted again that he was going to send the dog after him – the suspect stopped in his tracks.

The pursuit started on Cottage Avenue near Louise at about 10:30 p.m.  when officer Massey attempted to pull over the driver of the white Silverado pickup truck to talk about a headlight that was burned out.

Massey said the driver then pulled away and the chase was on.  Officer Nunes was on another traffic stop for a minor violation, but left immediately on hearing his partner was in a pursuit.

The pickup driver led the officers east on Lathrop Road to Austin Road.  They continued southbound on Austin continuing all the way south to Caswell State Park.  The fleeing driver drove in through the guard gate and crashed into a small fence, drove up onto the levee and headed back onto Austin Road passing the two Manteca patrol units in the opposite direction.

The pursuit continued north on Austin to Moncure Road a short distance away.  It continued eastbound until it reached a north-south artery on the west side of Ripon.  Police chased the suspect north to West Ripon Road where they turned eastbound driving through the downtown area of Ripon.

The driver circled back and turned down Locust Avenue, turning left onto Second Street.  He then went up on the Second Street overpass and down onto Highway 99 and then onto the Union Pacific Railroad tracks.

He drove on the tracks until he blew his left rear tire and became disabled and lodged in the railroad ties in the middle of the bridge over the Stanislaus River.

Train traffic was halted by the Manteca Police dispatcher. Union Pacific was calling for a big rig to remove the truck from the tracks.

Stockton was charged with felony reckless evasion of police officers and drunk driving.  Charges also included being a felon in possession of a shot gun and being a felon in possession of ammunition.  He was transported to San Joaquin County Jail in French Camp.

Police also found meth in a Rolaids container.
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