A 23-year-old man allegedly fled from sheriff’s deputies who tried to pull him over for road stunts in Moreno Valley and crashed into a backup patrol unit at an intersection, injuring two lawmen, authorities said Wednesday.
Ramiro Benitez of Moreno Valley was arrested and booked into the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside Tuesday on suspicion of assault on a peace officer with a deadly weapon, reckless driving and obstruction of justice.
Benitez is being held in lieu of $1 million bail.
According to Riverside County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Chad Craig, a patrol unit was eastbound on Alessandro Boulevard early Tuesday morning when the two deputies spotted the suspect allegedly engaging in “burn-outs,” or tire-screeching rings, at Alessandro Boulevard and Lasselle Avenue.
“The deputies activated their vehicle’s emergency lights to conduct an enforcement stop on the Nissan coupe for reckless driving,” Craig said. “The (driver) ignored the deputies and continued doing several additional circles in the intersection.”
Moments later, Benitez floored it, fleeing the location and driving into a residential area, with the patrol car in pursuit, Craig said.
As the patrol unit closed in on the suspect’s vehicle, Benitez allegedly made a U-turn, cut his headlights and “drove straight toward” his pursuers, Craig said.
“The deputies were forced to swerve to avoid being struck head-on by the Nissan,” Craig said.
Additional patrol units were summoned, and one was going through the intersection of Lasselle and Bay avenues on a green light when Benitez allegedly plowed through the same intersection against a red traffic signal, culminating in his Nissan colliding with the patrol vehicle, according to Craig.
“The suspect abandoned his vehicle, then fled the scene on foot,” Craig said. “He was located in a nearby backyard.”
Benitez was taken into custody without further incident. He wasn’t injured.
The two deputies in the patrol unit allegedly struck by the suspect suffered minor injuries, Craig said. The pair, whose names weren’t released, did not require hospitalization.
Background information on Benitez wasn’t available.
According to Craig, the illegal street maneuvers that the suspect performed, also known as a “side show,” are representative of a growing number of illicit street stunts that pose a threat to public safety throughout the Inland Empire.
“Taking over streets, destroying intersections and driving at excessive speeds is dangerous and a serious threat to other motorists, pedestrians and our community,” Craig said. “No one should be killed or injured because someone wants to show off.”