2 dead, several injured in South Valley crash after pursuit

PORTERVILLE, Calif. (KFSN) -- Two people died Tuesday afternoon and several more were injured after a high-speed police chase.

The pursuit started outside of a high school in Lindsay and took officers to Porterville city limits. That's when they called off the chase.

A mile down the road, the suspect vehicle crashed into two others.

For five hours, Plano at Olive was blocked off for what witnesses describe as something they've only seen on TV.

"If I would have been here two minutes earlier, I would've been right here in the middle of it, you know," said Harley Brown of Porterville.

Brown, a Porterville College student, was driving down Plano when he was stopped by police taping off the area surrounding a rollover crash.

Three people in a Nissan ran a red light hitting a Challenger and a truck before flipping over.

But it all stemmed from a police chase that started in Lindsay.

Brown explains what happened, "I got here right as a man had left the car and started running toward Subway and AutoZone and they had caught him over there his whole head was split open and he was bleeding from there."

That passenger was taken to a local hospital in critical condition and remains in police custody.

The driver of the suspect car was killed instantly.

The other passenger was transported to Sierra View Medical Center where he later died.

The chase started around 3 pm Tuesday when someone from John J. Carins School in Lindsay called to report possible gang members that were in front of campus asking about a student.

As officers approached the vehicle, they say the female driver took off almost hitting one of the officers.

"A pursuit followed from the school the occupants were throwing items from the vehicle," said Lindsay Police Chief Chris Hughes.

Speeds reached anywhere from 60-100 miles per hour traveling through Lindsay and Strathmore.

"The pursuit terminated at Plano and Henderson about a mile north of here and they came up on the accident at around the same time we got the call," said Porterville Police Sgt. Brian Nix.

The roadway was taped off for several hours as crews not only investigated the crash but worked to secure the vehicle so they could remove the driver.

Porterville Police are investigating the traffic collision and Lindsay Police will continue the criminal investigation.
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