A 26-year-old man being pursued by Escondido police in a stolen truck on Highway 78 was arrested Saturday after he lost control of the truck, struck a barrier, hit a sedan head-on, went over the side of the highway and landed in a ravine, police said.
Matthew Ruiz, 26, was booked into the Vista Jail on multiple charges, including evading police, said acting Lt. Chris Leso of the Escondido Police Department.
The incident began at 9:09 a.m. Saturday on East Valley Parkway in Escondido when officers saw a 2002 silver Toyota Tacoma pickup truck, with a man driving and a woman passenger, reported stolen out of Riverside County, Leso said. During a traffic stop the passenger fled the truck and the driver took off, traveling through Escondido with officers in pursuit, he said.
The suspect began driving eastbound on Highway 78 toward the Ramona grade until he lost control of the truck near Indian Oaks Road, Leso said. The truck struck a concrete barrier, then hit a vehicle head-on that was traveling west, Leso said. The truck went over a steep ledge, dropped about 50 feet and came to rest in a ravine at the bottom of the ledge. The truck then caught fire, and CalFire firefighters put out the blaze.
The suspect fled the vehicle, Leso said, and officers chased and apprehended him.
Two people in the sedan hit by the truck were treated at the scene for minor injuries and released.
Officers discovered the suspect had an active felony warrant and he was arrested and taken to jail, Leso said. The suspect suffered minor injuries in the crash, he said, and no officers were injured.
The California Highway Patrol is investigating the crash, Leso said, and the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department assisted in the incident.
–City News Service