Barricade ends Tahoe car chase
California Highway Patrol officers engaged in an erratic car chase on Tahoe’s West Shore Thursday morning, which ended safely nearly two hours later when a barricade forced a slow-moving car to stop at Tahoe City.
The female driver was taken into custody for allegedly evading police.
Officers have yet to identify the driver, who avoided spike strips set up on the West Shore’s Highway 89. Police said the woman was not talking, and did not carry any form of identification.
A 5-year old boy was sitting in the passenger’s seat of the vehicle. Police said they are making arrangements to provide for the child.
The pursuit began just after 8 a.m. when a CHP trooper stopped the woman’s black Honda in the Bliss State Park area near Emerald Bay for impeding traffic. The woman was driving slowly, forcing a growing line of cars to wait behind her, said Officer Jeff Gartner of the South Tahoe CHP office.
But when the officer attempted to contact the driver, she drove off and the pursuit began.
The suspect drove between 20 and 40 mph up the West Shore, sometimes speeding up and then suddenly slamming on her brakes, Gartner said. The officer followed the vehicle to Tahoe City with his lights and sirens activated.
“When most people think of pursuits, including myself, you think of driving 100 miles per hour and driving in and out of traffic on the highway,” said Officer Steve Skeen of the Truckee CHP office. “She just wouldn’t comply. She wouldn’t pull over. And when she did pull over and stop, she would take off again.”
The suspect was finally stopped around 9:45 a.m. at the Tahoe City wye, after police cars surrounded the Honda and forced it to a stop. Several spike-strips that were placed along Highway 89 were ineffective because she woman was able to drive around them, Gartner said.
“They [stopped the vehicle] very professionally,” said Ron Treabess of the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association, who witnessed the forced stop from his second-story office window. “But you were really wondering what the heck could be going on.”
Even after the vehicle stopped, the suspect remained uncooperative, police said. Officers were forced to smash a window, so they could unlock the car and remove the suspect.
The suspect was booked into the Placer County jail this morning. Truckee CHP officers are conducting the investigation into the suspect’s identity and motive for evading the police, Skeen said.
The investigation will take into consideration the suspect’s mental status, and any alcohol or drug use, he added.
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