Driver arrested following hit-and-run crash, carjacking in central Fresno

Wednesday, December 22, 2021
Driver arrested following crash, carjacking in central Fresno
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Authorities say they've arrested a driver who ran a red light, causing a multi-vehicle crash in central Fresno before carjacking another driver on Monday.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A suspected drunk driver caused a crash around noon Tuesday and then carjacked a family to run away, according to police.

Police say the suspect ran a red light at Blackstone and McKinley and crashed into two cars and the traffic light pole that's ruined now.

They say his crime got worse from there.

When his gold SUV came to rest perpendicular to traffic on Blackstone with its two back tires separated from the back axle, undercover investigators tell me the suspect didn't want to stay to talk to police.

"The driver specifically got out and made contact with the driver of another vehicle and jumped into the back seat of that car and told them to take him to a location here in Fresno," said CHP officer Steve Swanson.

The suspect's new ride was a white SUV with a family of four inside, including 8-year-old twin girls now sharing the back seat with him, and a father ready to follow the man's orders to keep them safe.

"He was definitely afraid of that individual and (the suspect) made a motion like he had a weapon in his possession," Swanson said.

Officers with the undercover HEAT team stopped the white SUV within a few blocks and arrested 25-year-old Arturo Sanchez.

They had spotted him before the crash when they say he was driving very dangerously through nearby neighborhoods, hitting speeds of about 80 miles per hour and blowing through stop signs.

"The driver was so out of control, it was difficult to keep up with him in traffic," Swanson said. "He was unaware that we were following him."

Even though they couldn't keep up with him, the undercover team was near enough for officers to catch up after the collision and carjacking.

They say Sanchez was very drunk and suffered some injuries, so they took him to the hospital before booking him in jail.

At least one of the cars he hit was driven by a social worker trying to deliver Christmas gifts to needy families.

Officers planned to book Sanchez on charges of DUI, hit and run, and carjacking.

They say he had a passenger, too, but that person ran away after the crash and they haven't made an arrest yet.