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2 high speed chases enter, end in Ripon
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Two high speed pursuits around midnight Wednesday led CHP officers into Ripon where one motorist – a 17-year-old youth – was arrested after he crashed into a light pole and concrete block wall near the intersection of West Main Street and Ruess Road while the other pursuit that began in Merced ended on Second Street in front of Calvary Reformed Church at Vera Avenue.

A CHP officer responding to the first pursuit spotted the youth driving a gold sedan southbound on Highway 99 and clocked the driver at 130 miles an hour. The officer followed him into Ripon where he crashed allegedly attempting to outrun the black and white patrol car.

The officers who initiated the Merced pursuit said they clocked a Honda driver at 85 miles and hour driving through downtown in that city and followed him onto northbound Highway 99. They reached Ripon about midnight where he abandoned his vehicle and fled jumping over fences in the neighborhood.  Ripon police officers responded and offered their assistance in setting up a perimeter in an effort to find the driver.

Ripon officers continued their search throughout the night with the help of citizens calling 911 and reporting the man’s movements within the city.  Police said the man had stolen a mountain bike from a home, using it to flee from police.

At about 6:30 a.m. officers were searching the area around the Ripon Shell gas station in the 300 block of East Main Street near the northbound Highway 99 off ramp when they spotted the suspect come out from behind the gas station building.  

Lt. Steve Merchant said that when the man saw uniformed officers coming toward him he ran toward the Main Street overcrossing bike and foot bridge that leads to Ripon High School.  Merchant added that when he got to the other side of the freeway,  he followed the fence line and officers took him into custody without further incident.

Officers transported the motorist to the San Joaquin County Jail on a variety of charges. He was released later in the day.

Ripon officers located the owner of the bicycle the suspect had reportedly stolen in an attempt to elude capture. The owner confirming that the bike had been taken during the night.

 “This was a great example of the cooperation we’ve developed between our citizens and their police department,” said  Ripon Police spokesman Lt. Steve Merchant. “The invaluable citizen calls to our dispatcher provided us with real-time information on the suspect’s movements, combined with the determination of our patrol officers to protect our city led to the apprehension of this suspect.”

To contact Glenn Kahl email