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Driver triggers 7-car accident
Also knocked down street light, tried to flee scene
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The owners of several cars and a pickup truck that were damaged by an errant motorist gather behind the wreckage of their vehicles Tuesday afternoon at Kaiser Hospital on West Yosemite Avenue. - photo by GLENN KAHL

A 35-year-old man was chased down on foot by an off-duty private security officer after the car he was driving collided with a senior citizen exiting the Kaiser Hospital parking lot, severed a street light pole and crashed into five parked vehicles.

Ralph Rodriguez, 35, of Stockton was arrested by Manteca Police officer Robert Anderson at the rear of the hospital near the Manteca Golf Course where he had fled following the multi-vehicle crash at the Yosemite Avenue medical facility.

The sworn security guard called for an emergency response by officers after he had caught up with the suspect who was believed to be armed.

Rodriguez was uninjured in the crash that sent a steel light pole flying into the air and traveling about 100 yards on impact as his 1999 Ford Expedition jumped the curbing.  The pole landed just short of a Cadillac Escalade parked just beyond the next exit to the hospital.

The pole had been ripped out of its bolted foundation and left bare electric wires in its wake that were guarded by firefighters to keep anyone from accidently walking into the live wires.

The Expedition continued across the sidewalk and down the embankment into the parking lot where it collided with five cars and a pickup truck causing major damage and shaking up two more individuals in addition to the 83-year-old victim of the intersection crash.

Rodriguez was jailed on a “no bail” assault warrant that had been issued earlier by Stockton Police for his arrest in addition to hit and run charges and resisting arrest.  He was allegedly said to be brandishing a knife he had in his possession, police said.

The damaged vehicles included a 2004 Saturn left in the street, a blue Tacoma pickup truck, a white Nissan SUV, a green Honda, a white Toyota van and the 1999 Ford Expedition.  Investigating officer logged a total of seven “areas of impact” among the carnage.

It was not the first parking lot series of crashes at the hospital parking lot.  About eight months ago another vehicle crashed into the hospital parking lot closer to the helicopter landing pad and damaged some 10 vehicles in the process.

Officers said the investigation is continuing but noted neither drugs or alcohol appeared to be involved in the collisions.