Captain Rob Krider with the CHP says officers turned on their lights, and tried to make a traffic stop on the SUV.
"Once they tried to contact the person who was driving that vehicle, that person decided to try and get away, they ended up ramming into a number of police vehicles, at that time and from that, shots were fired."
At least two people fired their guns, an officer from the CHP and the assisting Tulare County Sheriff's deputy.
The driver was hit, and brought to a local hospital. He's expected to survive.
His passenger was not hit and was arrested.
Authorities have not yet released the names of the two suspects.
The wild scene played out in perhaps the busiest part of Earlimart, close to Highway 99, on Armstrong Avenue.
"We have somebody who decides that they don't want to be arrested for auto theft and chose to drive a car very erratically, put numerous people's lives in danger, and our officers had to respond to try to quell that, to keep the motoring public safe," said Captain Krider.
Jesus Castro lives in the neighborhood. What happened concerns him, he has kids who go to school nearby.
"It's getting crazy out here, more around the time the kids are going to school and coming out, you know?"
Porterville Police are investigating the officer-involved shooting.