A pursuit of an auto theft suspect that began in Turlock on Thursday ended with the suspect being apprehended in a vineyard in Atwater.
Francisco Ibanez, 44, was arrested for auto theft, possession of a stolen vehicle, felony evading, committing grand theft auto with a prior, and resisting arrest.
Stanislaus County Auto Theft Task (StanCATT) officers located four separate vehicles in Turlock on Thursday. Officers encountered a fifth vehicle, a 1996 Honda Accord, however the vehicle was quickly occupied by a suspect who headed southbound on Highway 99.
According to StanCATT, officers followed the vehicle until they could find a safe location to make an enforcement stop. The driver, Ibanez, continued on 99 into Merced County, eventually he exited and drove to a parking lot in the City of Atwater.
Ibanez became stuck in traffic near a railroad crossing on Shaffer Road and Atwater Boulevard. Officers attempted to make a stop, but Ibanez managed to slip through traffic and fled over the railroad tracks.
A high speed pursuit ensued, eventually reaching the country where speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour. The driver attempted to traverse a dirt roadway between an orchard and an open field at a high rate of speed in the area of Rose Avenue and Central Avenue in Atwater, but failed to negotiate a turn onto the roadway and the vehicle overturned into a dry dirt canal.
The vehicle came to a rest on its left side and without hesitation, the driver fled on foot. Ibanez fled toward some houses in the area of Rose Avenue and Cressey Way. Officers noticed the suspect had his left arm in a cast and sling while he was running.
StanCATT officers attempted to apprehend the suspect in the middle of a vineyard, but he continued to resist. He was ultimately taken into custody after a short struggle.
Ibanez was transported to Mercy Hospital Merced for medical clearance before being transported back to Stanislaus County for book.