A probationer suspected of stealing a pickup truck in the Riverside area and flipping the vehicle near Lake Mathews while fleeing from California Highway Patrol officers was being held without bail Wednesday.
Vicente Villegas, 21, was booked into the Robert Presley Jail on suspicion of auto theft, felony evading, reckless driving, being a felon in possession of a firearm and probation violations.
According to CHP Officer Juan Quintero, Villegas allegedly stole a Ford Ranger early Tuesday afternoon and picked up two friends, then headed onto Inland Empire freeways.
The theft was quickly reported, and a Riverside County sheriff’s helicopter crew spotted the vehicle going west on the Pomona (60) Freeway, crossing into San Bernardino County, Quintero said.
He said CHP units were alerted as the crew trailed the Ford from overhead, and patrol officers eventually caught up to the suspect near the Corona (71) Expressway, where he turned south, heading back into Riverside County.
“The driver attempted to flee by driving at speeds in excess of 100 mph on several freeways and surface streets,” Quintero said.
Roughly an hour into the pursuit, Villegas went south on Interstate 15 and eventually cut to the east, going toward Lake Mathews on Cajalco Road, according to the CHP spokesman.
As the suspect approached Wood Road, he “lost control of the vehicle (that) rolled several times,” Quintero said. “The vehicle came to rest on its wheels in an adjacent field.”
One of the occupants was thrown from the pickup, suffering moderate injuries., and the other occupant suffered minor injuries, Quintero said. Heo said all parties were taken to a hospital for treatment, after which the convicted felon was transported to jail.
The individuals riding with the suspect, neither of whom was identified, were not arrested.
No information was available regarding Villegas’ background.
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