An extremely brief North County police pursuit ended early Thursday in a solo crash that killed two young adults in the fleeing driver’s vehicle.
The events that led to the chase began about 12:15 a.m., when a patrol officer pulled over a silver Chrysler PT Cruiser in the area of Midway and East Grand Avenue in Escondido for an equipment violation, according to police.
Seeing the rear windows of the car roll down, the patrolman chose not to approach and verbally directed the occupants, two men and two women ages 18 to 21, to step out, Officer Steve Braucht said.
A few seconds later, the driver hit the gas and sped off to the west. The officer gave chase as the PT Cruiser reached speeds of about 80 mph, gaining distance from the police car.
After the Chrysler went over a hill near East Ohio Avenue, the officer momentarily lost sight of it. Reaching the crest, he saw that the car had crashed into a group of parked vehicles on the north side of East Grand Avenue and overturned, coming to rest upside down, Braucht said.
One of the male occupants had been ejected and died at the scene. Medics pronounced one of the women dead at the scene, as well, despite lifesaving efforts on the part of police and firefighters. The names of the deceased were withheld pending family notification.
The two survivors of the wreck were taken to hospitals, where they were listed in serious but stable condition.
It was unclear which of the occupants of the Chrysler had been driving and why he or she fled from the officer, Braucht said. The pursuit lasted less than a minute, he said.
According to news reports from the scene, another woman was trapped in wreckage and had to be freed using a Jaws of Life tool. She was airlifted to a trauma center. At least one other person was seriously injured.
A SigAlert was issued for East Grand Avenue between South Ash Street and Harding Street.
— From Staff and Wire Reports
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