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Richmond Police car wrecked while nabbing murder suspect

on September 18, 2014

A white-knuckle, 12-minute high-speed pursuit of a gang member wanted on murder charges last month ended with four arrests and one wrecked police cruiser.

The pursuit began at around 5:10 p.m. Aug. 1 when officers spotted Miguel Ortiz, a suspected Sureño gang member, at the St. John’s Apartment complex on MacDonald Avenue, according to Richmond Police officer Benjamin Therriault.

Ortiz, a passenger, rode with three females in a silver 2014 Chevrolet Impala. The driver refused to stop when officers flipped on their sirens behind them about two blocks away from the apartment complex.

The female driver hit the gas, and fled east on I-580 towards Berkeley and Oakland, at one point reaching speeds of 95 miles per hour.

The car was forced to slow down once it entered I-80 due to Friday rush hour traffic. While it slowed down the pursuit, Therriault said, the driver drove erratically through rush hour traffic, bullying other drivers out of the way.

“It was pretty amazing they didn’t hurt anyone,” Therriault said.

The chase ended when “the driver flipped us off and swerved into the front end of our patrol car,” Therriault said.

All of the occupants were arrested.  Ortiz was turned over to San Francisco Police. Ortiz was wanted on a $10 million warrant in connection with a July 19 homicide in San Francisco.

As for the total damage Therriault said, “I don’t know how much the damage for the (suspect’s) rental (2014 Chevrolet Impala) was but our patrol car #64 had to be totaled due to damage to the axle.”

The car was scheduled to be removed from service soon due to mileage, Therriault said.

Pursuits are not common in Richmond, and often officers will pull back because of risks to public safety, Therriault said.

But given that Ortiz was one of Northern California’s most wanted fugitives, this was a pursuit police couldn’t decline.

“It was important to remove him from the streets,” Therriault said.

Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated the date on which this incident occurred. 


  1. Mark Gagan on September 18, 2014 at 11:07 pm

    The headline reads “Richmond police wreck a patrol car while making an arrest last Friday.” Daniela, the incident happened SIX WEEKS AGO. The Richmond Standard article you’ve used to get information was written on August 2nd.

    My bigger concern is why you are focused on the minor collision and not the 1st degree murder the suspect committed or our heroic actions of arresting him with minimal force?

    Congratulations!! This is the first time I’ve ever commented on a news story and I’ve been a Media Relations Officer for over 10 years.

    • Daniela Covarrubias on September 19, 2014 at 11:50 am

      Thank you for your comment Captain Gagan. The Richmond Confidential would like to apologize for the inaccurate date in the previous version of this story and have updated the story.

      • Mimi on September 20, 2014 at 6:35 pm

        This is a very old story that happened over a month ago. Why is it news now?

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