The California Highway Patrol requested assistance from the Mariposa County Sheriff's Office with a stolen vehicle out of Merced on July 12.
CHP Air 43 aircraft was tracking the vehicle when Mariposa County Sheriff's Deputies intercepted the stolen truck on Highway 132 just above the Horseshoe Bend Recreation area at approximately 3:15 p.m..
The vehicle, described as a commercial Ford F550 Flatbed Utility Truck pulling a trailer with a construction vacuum, was reported stolen earlier in the day, in Merced.
Multiple sheriff's deputies continued to follow the stolen vehicle for approximately 25 minutes as the driver attempted to evaded law enforcement. The driver pulled on and off the roadway multiple times and his speed ranged from 20-60 miles per hour, frequently crossing the center line into oncoming lanes.
Since the California Highway Patrol was the initiating agency, once their patrol units caught up to the pursuit at the Bagby Bridge on steep and curvy S/R 49, sheriff's deputies positioned the CHP as the lead unit.
Deputies prepared to use Stop Sticks, and were positioned to do so, however, due to the size and weight of the commercial dually truck there was concern Stop Sticks could lead to a roadside fire.
It is not uncommon that punctured tires allow the rim to spark from the pavement. One spark from a rim contacting pavement coupled with the heat could cause a fire.
Instead, the sheriff's office utilized a loaded logging truck to block both lanes of traffic, just south of Bagby Bridge. The driver of the logging truck was willing and happy to assist. The location of this roadblock was intentionally picked.
Once the driver of the stolen vehicle saw the logging truck blocking the road he stopped. Ultimately he surrendered to the Sheriff's K9 Deputy and the other officers on scene after multiple verbal commands and uncooperative behavior.
No one was injured and it appears there was no damage to any property or the stolen vehicle. The stolen vehicle was equipped with expensive work equipment and trailer, worth thousands of dollars.
The CHP will be handling the crime investigation.
“Due to the drivers unsafe operation, and the weight of the stolen commercial truck involved, it was important to stop the driver as soon as possible. The size of truck would demolish a smaller passenger vehicle, said Madera County Sheriff Doug Binnewies. “The communication and coordination between agencies involved helped bring this event to a stop, without injury to anyone. Utilizing resources available to help support public safety is always an option to our Deputies, and the cooperation demonstrated by the Log Truck operator was welcomed. It’s always great to see that level of cooperation between agencies and community. This outcome was the best possible. The logging truck driver was happy to help. Nobody likes a thief.
Video is available at https://youtu.be/-jLZskpR8-E.
Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office