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Man with Medical Issues Leads Law on 25-Mile Pursuit thru the Pass

Patch file photo by Eric Reed
Patch file photo by Eric Reed
A man with medical issues led law enforcement on a 25-mile pursuit Wednesday from west Beaumont through the San Gorgonio Pass to State Route 62, a California Highway Patrol spokesman said.

The man, whose name was not released, was about 70 years old and he was from the Los Angeles area, CHP Officer Darren Meyer told Patch in a phone interview.

The pursuit began about 12:15 p.m. Jan. 22 when a deputy spotted a white Honda sedan eastbound on Interstate 10 at Oak Valley Parkway, Meyer said.

"He was driving erratically, the deputy thought the driver was DUI," Meyer said. "The deputy tried to make enforcement stop and the the driver kept going."

The motorist was doing 50 to 60 miles per hour the entire time, and weaving a lot, from one lane to another, Meyer said.

"When they got to the 60 split they called the Highway Patrol and turned it over to us," Meyer said. "Units got into position around Sunset and took over from there."

The CHP had multiple units on the ground and a Highway Patrol pilot in an airplane assigned to the pursuit, Meyer said.

"They were using their sirens and flashing red lights to try to get the driver to stop, to no avail," Meyer said.

The motorist kept going at 50 to 60 mph, through Banning, Cabazon, past the turnoff to Highway 111, then Whitewater.

"We had one of our Indio units set up a spike strip at the 62, he drove over it and it flattened numerous tires," Meyer said. "He drove on for another minute or so, pulled to the right shoulder and stopped. Our officers initiated felony stop procedures with guns drawn."

The driver got out of his car and stared at his tires, Meyer said.

"He was oblivious to the officers, kept looking at his flat tires, and they realized it was a medical or mental situation going on," Meyer said. "The officers made a quick arrest and drove him to San Gorgonio Memorial Hospital in Banning."

Staff at the hospital determined the man had numerous medical conditions, which Meyer said he could not disclose.

The man was not charged with any crime and he was eventually turned over to family members at San Gorgonio, Meyer said.

"The DMV definitely will be re-evaluating his drivers license and his competency to drive," Meyer said.

It's about 25 miles from Oak Valley Parkway to Highway 62 east of Whitewater. Some who monitored the pursuit said it started in Calimesa near the Riverside-San Bernardino county line.
Rex January 22, 2014 at 09:39 PM
Thankfully the trigger happy officers didn't shoot him. Maybe they should have used Bannings MRAP.
concerned citizen January 22, 2014 at 11:20 PM
Nice, he could have killed innocent people. Why was he even driving a car? If you don't like the police, then don't ever call them when you need help.
Rex January 23, 2014 at 12:45 AM
Driving 50-60 mph is a real threat cc. And why would I ever need the police? To report something that has already happened? That's about all they're good for. You be sure and ring them up when someone's kicking in your door...they should show up about the time it's over. And if you ever have a fight with your other half hope they don't show up and shoot you.
desertpatriot January 23, 2014 at 03:29 AM
rex, why don't you share with us your experience with the police i.e. the numerous run-ins and the reason why
Rex January 23, 2014 at 09:13 AM
Apparently you folks don't read the paper. All across the country this is happening. As for Beaumont? They can't even be bothered to write a report for a traffic accident. Too busy chasing murder suspects and drug lords no doubt.
summer January 24, 2014 at 01:00 AM
Rex, the amount of news reports regarding police brutality are miniscule compared to the number of law enforcement officers across the country who do an outstanding job. If you're stating your comments based on what you read in the news, then of course your statements are not going to hold any credibility with any of us who can actually think for ourselves. Your comment about the fact that Beaumont can't be bothered with a traffic accident report because they're too busy chasing murder suspects and drug lords complements very nicely your lack of insight displayed above. If they "can't be bothered" with traffic reports, then perhaps they ARE indeed handling something a bit more serious. The DMV enumerates many situations in which police reports are not required for traffic accidents.

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