RIPON — Ripon Police officers were too fast for a Merced man accused of taking a large amount of money from the Bank of Stockton branch in the 400 block of West Main Street Friday morning.
Daniel Eugene Frazer, 55, was arrested at gunpoint by Ripon officers as he crawled from his overturned 1990s Toyota in the southbound lanes of Highway 99 just north of the Hammet Road overcrossing.
Sgt. Tim Bailey was the first officer to respond to a 10:04 alarm from the bank that a robbery had just occurred and that the suspect – a lone black male with a mask and wearing a hooded sweatshirt – had been seen walking down Walnut Avenue toward Second Street where he had apparently left his car.
The man had reportedly entered the bank and robbed one bank teller of an undisclosed, but a large amount of cash before fleeing on foot.
With two recent unsolved bank robberies confronting them, other Ripon officers immediately swarmed the downtown area from patrol officers to the chief. Sgt. Steve Merchant was close behind Bailey when he located the suspect vehicle near Walnut and Second streets.
Bailey attempted to make a traffic stop, however the suspect reportedly drove up the Second Street bridge and made a break for the southbound lanes of the freeway with the two officers close behind.
After crossing the Stanislaus River bridge on Highway 99 the suspect continued toward the Hammet Road off ramp at a high rate of speed and attempted to exit the off ramp – missing his mark and catapulting off the edge of the paved roadway.
The careening vehicle tumbled over on its top and skidded down the middle of the freeway – missing other vehicles on the freeway. Bailey exited his police vehicle and ordered the man down at gun point backed up by Sgt. Merchant and Officer Mindy Dumlao.
Traffic on southbound Highway 99 was backed up for miles as officers investigated their crime scene and checked out the vehicle. An off-duty fireman from an out of the area fire department stayed close to the crash victim until Ripon paramedics arrived.
Medics worked with the robbery suspect for some 20 minutes before loading him into the Ripon ambulance and taking him to the Doctors Medical Center trauma center. Officer Trevor McGinnis went in the ambulance as a guard enroute to the hospital and during his stay.
Frazer was released later in the day and was taken back to the Ripon Police Department where he was interviewed by Ripon officers and an agent from the FBI. He is being looked at as a person of interest in the other recent Bank of the West robberies just across the street that occurred Sept. 11 and Oct. 6, police said.
Ripon Police Chief Richard Bull said his department is working closely with the California Department of Justice Crime Lab in Ripon to analyze and review possible DNA evidence from the prior bank robbers to assist in determining if this suspect may have been responsible for the other crimes as well.
Frazer was taken to San Joaquin County Jail in French Camp charged with bank robbery and evasion – failing to yield to police units.