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.
Richmond Confidential is an online news service produced by the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism for, and about, the people of Richmond, California. Our goal is to produce professional and engaging journalism that is useful for the citizens of the city.
Please send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.