Stolen CHP cruiser crashed; authorities search for suspect

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif.

The incident started when a van crashed into a fence in Sanger shortly after 5 p.m. Saturday, The C.H.P. said someone from inside the van then stole a C.H.P. cruiser and crashed it on Annadale west of Channel in Fresno County. The Highway Patrol said they know the name suspect. They said he is from Sanger and they believe he's hiding out in a field.

The C.H.P. believes the suspect stole a C.H.P. cruiser then crashed it into a fence while trying to get away from another C.H.P. officer.

Just minutes before that, a white mini-van crashed into a fence, It's unclear how many people were in the van, but the C.H.P. says a man involved in that accident was acting aggressively toward the first officer who showed up to the scene.

The C.H.P. officer said the man charged at him, so the officer got out of his car to defend himself. Apparently his cruiser was not put into park, and the car began to slowly roll away from the officer, right toward the suspect.

"So as it's rolling toward where the guy is coming from, he sees an opportunity jumps into the patrol vehicle and takes off," said Sgt. Ron Dechamplain with the California Highway Patrol.

The suspect crashed the cruiser shortly after, and then took off into the field. K-9 units along with a helicopter helped patrol the area looking for the suspect. Officers say no weapons were taken from the cruiser, so they do not believe the man is armed.

The C.H.P. also said they've been talking with the suspect's family members. Apparently the suspect has been talking with his family on his cell phone from the field. Since officers know who he is, they say they'll let him hide out of now, and meet up with him later.

He faces a felony charge for stealing the cruiser.

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