Bank Robbery Suspect Causes Crash Shutting Down HWY 99

January 12, 2009 10:47:06 AM PST
A portion of Hwy 99 just outside of Madera was shut down Friday afternoon after a suspected bank robber drove the wrong way and crashed. Investigators said the man robbed the Citibank on Yosemite Avenue at Lake, and later crashed on Hwy 99 and Avenue 12.Investigators said the robber was quickly spotted leaving that Citibank. A short pursuit began leading police out of the city and ended abruptly when the robber crashed head on into two cars on the highway. This is what the suspect's truck looked like after it smashed into a white Honda sedan just outside the city of Madera. But before this crash the truck hit and spun this red pick up crushing it like an aluminum can.

"It was very bad. It was very bad," said Brad Avery from Clovis.

Avery pulled up right after the crash, got out a fire extinguisher and ran to the suspected robber's truck.

"And put the fire out underneath his truck. It was his truck that was on fire as they were recovering weapons from his truck," said Avery.

The driver of the red pick up was taken by helicopter to Community Regional Medical Center. The suspect managed to make it out of this crash after running from police at this Citibank.

"He was pinned in the vehicle at that time. Smoke was coming from the engine. Officers pulled him from the vehicle and took him into custody," said Sgt. Johnnie Smith.

Traffic on North bound 99 came to a standstill for two hours while police and highway patrol officers collected evidence. A Madera fire fighter tried to keep traffic moving in the South bound lanes. Linda Caine from Fresno was on her way to drop off her daughter's kittens in Madera when she came right up on the crash.

"It could have been me. You set out on what seems to be a normal day and look what's happened to these people," said Caine.

Police chose not to pursue the robber down the wrong way on 99. They opted to following him in the southbound lane to be safe. Both the driver and the passenger in the white Honda were taken by ambulance to Community Regional Medical Center.

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