A driver toting a semi-automatic pistol and a ski mask led Manteca Police officers on a wild high-speed pursuit through East Manteca early Thursday morning.
Manteca patrol officer Ben Cromwell was driving in the area of Southland Road near Cottage Avenue when he saw a white vehicle fly through the stop sign at speeds that he estimated to be in excess of 100 miles per hour.
He gave chase attempting to catch up to the driver who, according to the police report, flew through a red light at Louise Avenue and Cottage at speeds still in excess of 100 miles per hour. Cromwell lost sight of the driver as it went over Highway 99. When he approached he saw no sign of the white Toyota Solara he had been attempting to catch.
It was only when he approached Glenn Drive that he saw that the driver lost control of the vehicle and crashed it into the wrought iron front yard fence of a house. According to a nearby witness, the driver took off towards a cluster of neighboring backyards. Additional police units arrived and officers cordoned off the area and searched for the driver but police were unsuccessful in locating him.
The vehicle, which was registered out of Madera, still had the keys in the ignition. Officers found an unloaded semi-automatic handgun with the serial numbers filed off and a black ski mask inside the vehicle when they searched it. Neighboring police departments were contacted to see if any reports of similar activity had been reported to possibly ascertain which way the suspect was coming from, but the search came up empty.
Madera Police went to the address that was listed on the registration of the vehicle to attempt to learn the identity of the person behind the wheel but they discovered that they had moved out of that particular residence.
Doctors Hospital of Manteca locked down their operation while police searched the area, and walked staffers out to their cars only with the supervision and accompaniment of a security guard.