An 18-year-old driver led law enforcement on a high-speed chase that spanned two counties, according to officials. The Riverside Sheriff's Department alerted the San Diego Sheriff's Department to "be on the lookout" for a white Kia Forte that they were pursuing southbound on Interstate 15, the SDSO said in a press release on Sunday.
According to the department, Riverside authorities reported that they had lost sight of the vehicle just before midnight on Saturday. Shortly after, Fallbrook Station agents located the stolen Kia traveling south on I-15 at Mission Road without its lights on, the SDSO said. Officials say agents initiated a traffic stop and the driver did not stop, leading to a traffic pursuit.
The Kia continued south on I-15 at speeds up to 110 miles per hour, the department said. The pursuit took agents through the city of Escondido and then west on Highway 78, officials said. Authorities say the vehicle exited onto Sycamore Avenue and then traveled through the city of Vista.
The SDSO says the driver ended up crashing into a concrete traffic circle structure at the intersection of South Santa Fe Avenue and Pala Vista Drive, causing the Kia to flip. Meanwhile, the pursuing agent's view was allegedly obstructed by the suspect's vehicle kicking up dust and debris, officials said. The department said the agent was unable to avoid a collision with the same traffic circle structure and was transported to a local hospital with minor injuries.
Officials determined that there were four people inside the stolen Kia: an adult driver, an adult passenger, and two minor passengers. Due to the severity of the collision, all were transported to a local hospital for medical evaluations, according to the SDSO.
Authorities have identified the driver as 18-year-old Brenden Hawkins, who was arrested and now faces charges including possession of a stolen vehicle, felony evasion, and two counts of endangering minors with felonies. The SDSO says the investigation into the stolen vehicle and traffic collisions is ongoing. While it is known that the passengers were minors, no additional information has been provided regarding their state of health.
It's important to note that evading law enforcement is a felony that can endanger other drivers and pedestrians. Drivers who become involved in a police pursuit must follow the orders of the agents and stop immediately. By fleeing from the police, drivers only worsen their situation and put the safety of others at risk. Hopefully, this incident serves as a reminder for drivers to respect traffic laws and avoid endangering themselves and others on the road.
Originally posted at Abogados de Accidentes