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A pursuit that began in Anaheim and topped speeds of 100 mph as the suspect tried to elude authorities in three counties came to a bizarre end Monday when the driver abandoned the vehicle and ran off, while the driver of a second vehicle sped away and was ultimately detained in Colton.
Despite initial confusion, Anaheim police confirmed late Monday afternoon that the original suspect had been taken into custody in Jurupa Valley in Riverside County. California Highway Patrol officials also clarified that the second vehicle wasn’t involved in the original pursuit.
“Earlier today units from the California Highway Patrol were involved in a pursuit of what was reported as a stolen vehicle,” CHP Sgt. Kevin Reese said at the scene in Colton in San Bernardino County on Monday afternoon. “In the course of that pursuit that traversed numerous areas, the involved individuals, the two suspects exited the vehicle and attempted … to further flee from units on foot. It was reported to us in the San Bernardino area that the vehicle you see stopped behind us, that the driver from the originally pursued vehicle may have entered that vehicle.”
According to Anaheim police Sgt. Daron Wyatt, an officer spotted a dark-colored Toyota Camry shortly before noon in the area of Harbor Boulevard and the 91 Freeway and determined that it had a stolen license plate — leading police to speculate that the Camry itself had been stolen. The officer tried to pull over the driver, who responded by speeding away at speeds that reached more than 100 mph at points.
The driver got onto the eastbound 91 Freeway and sped into Riverside County transitioning from the 91 onto the 215 Freeway and into the Cajon Pass on the 15 Freeway in San Bernardino County, before he turned around and eventually made his way back into the Riverside area from the 15 to the 10 Freeway back to the 215. At times the agitated driver — who may have had a passenger in the vehicle — tossed items out of the window as he drove.
For two hours, he occasionally drove on the wrong side of the street and maneuvered around traffic as he circled streets in Riverside and Rubidoux neighborhoods, ultimately winding up in Jurupa Valley, where he came to a stop and ran from the car and through the parking lot of an industrial building.
The man disappeared from sight, but then a second vehicle, also a dark-colored sedan, pulled out of the parking lot. A woman jumped into a rear passenger seat and the driver turned out of the parking lot, then came to a stop on the street, where the woman jumped out again and got down on the street face-down, surrendering to police.
The driver of the second vehicle then sped off, sparking speculation the original suspect may have jumped into that car. Police pursued the vehicle into the Colton area, where the driver came to a stop and surrendered around 2:30 p.m. A female passenger then got out of the car and surrendered, but the original suspect was not in the vehicle.
The woman was identified by Anaheim police as Cecelia Martinez, 19, Santa Ana. She was booked on suspicion of possession of stolen property.
Officers did find an infant in the car, strapped into a car seat.
“From the getgo these people were compliant with the stop. After we talked to them, it was determined that they were not involved,” Reese said of the two who were detained in Colton. “These people had relayed to us that the individuals that we were originally pursuing had attempted to get into their car and carjack them or get a ride out of the area.”
“When one of the individuals entered their car, they noticed that the victims … had their baby in the car,” Reese continued. “The suspect seeing that there was a baby in the car got the idea that maybe it wasn’t a good idea to take the car, got out, and she was taken into custody from what I understand.”
Reese noted that he was not on scene during the arrest of the woman and didn’t have firsthand knowledge of what happened in Jurupa Valley.
Police cordoned off the Jurupa Valley business in the 3400 block of Grapevine Street where the original suspect abandoned the allegedly stolen vehicle. Anaheim police confirmed around 4 p.m. that the suspect — who apparently changed clothes and tried to sneak away from the scene — had been taken into custody.
The man was reportedly under the influence of drugs and taken to the hospital for medical evaluation, according to Wyatt.
That suspect was identified by Anaheim police as Christian Beltran, 22, Anaheim. He was arrested on suspicion of felony evading, driving a stolen car and possession of stolen property; and on a warrant.
Staff photographer Watchara Phomicinda and City News Service contributed to this report.