Police: Man Arrested after Stealing SMUD Truck, Leading Officials on High-Speed Chase

SACRAMENTO COUNTY -- A police chase ends with a suspect in custody after a man allegedly stole a SMUD truck and led police on a miles-long pursuit.

It ended near the freeway entrance to Highway 99 north at Dillard Road where investigators say the suspect crashed the truck.

Witness Kathy Barnes said it was “not your typical Friday,” when a peaceful afternoon in a rural stretch of Southern Sacramento County was interrupted by unusual commotion.

“Heard a lot of sirens, police cars… saw a lot of officers driving by,” Barnes explained.

Barnes saw the police pursuit from the front porch of her Wilton home.

Sacramento County Sheriff’s officials said before a man carjacked the SMUD vehicle, he assaulted the driver.

“And then I see the utility truck and I’m like, ‘oh my god, I hope he doesn’t get on 99,’” Barnes said. “But the officers blocked him that way and by the time I got out here, there was a cloud of dust and I could see that the vehicle was wrecked. [The police] were on it.”

The suspect driving at high speeds through miles of farm land, knocking down gates and fences on private property in an attempt to evade police

“One of the properties, he just blew through their brand-new gate and tore through their property,” Barnes explained. “Several people here had near-misses of being hit head on or being rear-ended by the guy, so pretty scary when people just want to go home on a Friday and get ready for Easter weekend.”

Officers eventually caught him just as the suspect was nearing the Highway 99 on-ramp.

“At one point, an officer was faced with the truck coming directly at him. That officer discharged his firearm. At this point, we don’t believe he was hit. None of our officers were injured. The pursuit continued and a tact strip was deployed. It was successful and allowed the vehicle to slow,” said Sgt. Shaun Hampton.

The suspect lost control of the utility truck before it crashed.

Barnes watched police take the suspect into custody and breathed a sigh of relief that the man can no longer cause additional harm.

“I’m just glad no one in our community was injured and none of the officers were injured, but they did a great job. They took him down and it was done,” Barnes said.

At last check, the suspect was in the hospital for injuries he sustained while plowing through those gates and fences.

FOX40 was told that he will be facing a number of charges including carjacking, assault with a deadly weapon and felony evading arrest.

As for the SMUD employee, he was badly beaten but is expected to recover.

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