A man who allegedly fled a traffic stop in San Juan Capistrano Monday led authorities on a high-speed chase into northern San Diego County, where he caused a fiery crash — apparently in an attempt to commit suicide — and was arrested.
The chase began shortly after 2 p.m. at Avery Parkway and Interstate 5, when Orange County Sheriff‘s deputies tried to pull over the driver of a 2007 Chrysler PT Cruiser for speeding.
The driver, later identified as 37-year-old Robert George Baker III of Trabuco Canyon, allegedly refused to yield and sped off to the south on the freeway, at times reaching speeds in excess of 100 mph, according to the California Highway Patrol.
In the area of El Camino Real in San Clemente, the CHP officers took over the chase. Officers laid out a tire-flattening spike strip across the freeway near Harbor Drive in Oceanside, but the fleeing driver was able to steer around it.
Just north of Encinitas Boulevard, the suspect’s convertible swerved sharply to the right, clipped the front of a 2011 Toyota Camry, crashed to a halt into a metal barrier at the edge of the freeway and caught fire, CHP public affairs Officer Jim Bettencourt said. CHP personnel extinguished the flames and took Baker into custody.
“He stated to officers that he crashed into the guardrail in an attempt to end his life,” Bettencourt said.
Medics took Baker and the driver of the Camry, a 63-year-old Carmel Valley woman, to hospitals for treatment of moderately serious injuries.
Baker was expected to face felony charges for the chase and crash upon being released from medical care, Bettencourt said.
— City News Service