SANTA MARIA, Calif. - California Highway Patrol arrested one man after a stolen vehicle pursuit and brief foot pursuit in the Santa Maria area Friday afternoon.
Santa Barbara CHP received reports of a stolen beige Honda out of the Goleta area around 11:35 a.m.
The victim told officers that the suspect may have driven the vehicle onto Highway 101 northbound. CHP responded to the area and successfully located the stolen Honda on the freeway at Gaviota State Beach.
Officers then activated their lights and sirens at Damassa in the Buellton area in an attempt to pull over the stolen vehicle. However, CHP said the suspect, later identified as 26-year-old Daniel Emilio RuizMedina, just increased his speed to 95 miles per hour.
Suddenly, RuizMedina stopped the Honda in the center median and ran on foot across the southbound lane of the freeway, entering a neighborhood at Jonata Park Road.
Once there, RuizMedina reportedly found a white flatbed Chevrolet truck with keys still in the ignition. RuizMedina entered the Chevrolet and proceeded to drive forward, fatally striking the owner's pet cat and damaging a fence.
CHP said he then drove back onto the 101 freeway heading north at speeds over 100 miles per hour. Due to these high speeds and the danger the chase posed to the public, CHP said they backed their vehicles off and called in a helicopter.
CHP also set up a spike strip on the freeway at Cat Canyon Road. Unfortunately, RuizMedina saw the spike strip and turned into the southbound lanes, continuing north until he passed the strip. He then turned back into the northbound lanes, crossing the median at 95 miles per hour. CHP said multiple vehicles had to swerve out of the way in order to avoid being hit.
RuizMedina exited the freeway at Union Valley Parkway near Orcutt, turning onto Orcutt Road, Skyway Drive and ultimately Industrial Parkway.
On Industrial, RuizMedina ran out of the Chevrolet and into a business called Westside Building Materials. Officers ran into the building close behind RuizMedina and found him sitting at a desk inside wearing a reflective vest and headset in an attempt to pass as an employee.
RuizMedina was quickly arrested and booked in the Santa Barbara County Jail on felony charges.