Woman arrested in Visalia after she led Sheriff's deputy on short pursuit that ended in gun fire

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A South Valley woman faces serious charges for allegedly leading a Tulare County Sheriff's deputy on a dangerous pursuit through Visalia. (KFSN)

A South Valley woman faces serious charges for allegedly leading a Tulare County Sheriff's deputy on a dangerous pursuit through Visalia. Investigators said 43-year-old Michelle Routh was high on meth when she hit two occupied cars. The chase ended with the deputy opening fire on her vehicle.

Michael Salazar heard the sirens, so he decided to see what was going on.

"I just wanted to see what was going on, so I came outside and by then I saw the car was already stopped."

The fence of a State Farm insurance office is the spot where the Tulare County Sheriff's Office said a Chevy Blazer finally came to rest after a short pursuit and deputy involved shooting on Tuesday night.

During the whole ordeal, they said the suspect hit two occupied cars, drove the wrong way, and ran multiple stop signs and red lights. The deputy in pursuit pushed the Blazer off the road twice. It temporarily stopped on Sweet Avenue, and the deputy got out of his car.

"At that point the vehicle was attempting to leave the scene. The deputy reportedly feared for the safety of the community if that vehicle were allowed to leave the scene, and the way that vehicle had demonstrated the driving pattern when the deputy attempted to make the traffic stop," said Robin Skyles, Tulare County Under sheriff.

The driver, identified as 43-year-old Michelle Routh was arrested on multiple charges, including being high on methamphetamine while driving, and hit and run.

Skyles said her female passenger was a witness, and was not arrested.

"And all indications that we have so far is the deputy shot to disable the vehicle and did not shoot at the suspect," said Skyles.

"It happened so fast, you know? Things escalated so fast, it was pretty crazy," said Salazar.

Pretty crazy, pretty chaotic, but the Sheriff's Office is thankful no one was seriously hurt.

The suspect is being held without bail.

The deputy is on paid administrative leave while this investigation continues.
Related Topics:
newsdeputy-involved shootinghigh-speed chasevisaliatulare county sheriff's officetulare countyVisalia
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