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Driver arrested after high speed chase in stolen CAL FIRE truck

A man was arrested Friday afternoon at gunpoint after leading law enforcement agencies on a high-speed chase in a stolen CAL FIRE truck that ended on Highway 1 near Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Authorities confirm the truck was stolen in Monterey County early Friday morning.

According to sister station KION TV, the suspect allegedly broke into a fire station and stole a set of keys to a truck typically assigned to fire support personnel.

The suspect arrested is identified as 38-year-old Donald Schellinger, a transient from Northern California.

The stolen truck was spotted in Los Alamos in northern Santa Barbara County at about 11:50 a.m. Friday.

The chase began with speeds reaching up to 100 mph.

The suspect first traveled south but turned around in Los Alamos and began driving northwest on Highway 135.

He eventually reached the outskirts of Orcutt where he turned around again near Clark Avenue and began driving south towards Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Security forces from Vandenberg Air Force Base joined the pursuit.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office says authorities were able to stop the suspect on Highway 1 after he attempted to make another U-turn in a sandy, soft-centered median just before 1 p.m.

KION TV reports the suspect committed a string of crimes after taking the CAL FIRE truck that stretched from Monterey County to Santa Barbara County, including a reported theft in Pismo Beach.

Schellinger was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on charges of felony reckless evading, possession of stolen property, vehicle theft, and parole violation.

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