Friday, August 12, 2022
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Police Pursuit of Stolen Vehicle Ends When Driver Smashes into Willits Gas Station Sign


At approximately 11:30 a.m. today, Willits Police Department officers attempted to pull-over a known stolen vehicle on Highway 20, resulting in a pursuit that came to an end when the suspect pulled into Willits’s Safeway gas station in an uncontrolled manner, striking a large sign, according to WPD Chief Fabian Lizarraga. The driver fled on foot, and after a brief foot chase was apprehended, Chief Lizarraga added.

Chief Lizarraga explained a BOLO had been issued throughout Mendocino County law enforcement regarding a stolen vehicle from Fort Bragg possibly heading down Highway 20. WPD officers spotted the car near the KOA campground, attempted to pull-over the car, the driver refused to yield, and the pursuit began.

Chief Lizarraga described the pursuit heading south on Willits’s Main Street, through some side streets, down to the Evergreen shopping mall parking lot when the driver fled back onto Main Street going north. Chief Lizarraga described the traffic as light and the driver weaving in and out of traffic while crossing double yellow lines through the entirety of the pursuit.

The suspect decided to turn the vehicle into the Safeway gas station parking lot when he lost control of the car and smashed into the business’s sign. At that point, Chief Lizarraga said the suspect bailed on foot down Flower Street and, after a brief foot chase, was tackled by officers and arrested.

At the time of our conversation with Chief Lizarraga, the suspect’s name was unknown, but he told us that the suspect is 19-years-old, not from Fort Bragg or Willits, and is being transported and booked into the Mendocino County jail.


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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFever
Picking Brains—Baring Bones—Playing it By Ear: I'm a reporter in Mendocino County and the Founder of MendoFever.

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