Water gushes from a sheared-off fire hydrant Friday night, Nov. 16, on Paseo de Las Olas in Temecula after a pickup being chased by the CHP crashed.
BY SARAH BURGE, STAFF WRITER, November 17, 2012; 01:08 AM
A police chase Friday night, Nov. 16, on Interstate 15 ended with a pickup crashing into a fire hydrant on a Temecula residential street, sending water gushing into the air.
Robert Stevens, 42, of San Marcos, was arrested on suspicion of evading officers and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, said Sgt. Chris Francescon of the California Highway Patrol.
Stevens sat in the back of a patrol car Friday night as a torrent of water flowed down the street and a crowd of neighbors looked on.
Francescon said a CHP officer spotted a Ford Ranger with its headlights off speeding north on Interstate 15 near Temecula Parkway about 8:40 p.m. The officer tried to stop the pickup, which was going about 90 mph, but the driver, later identified as Stevens, kept going, he said. Stevens exited the freeway at Rancho California Road, ran a red-light and headed east about three miles before turning into a neighborhood.
Stevens drove down Paseo de Las Olas and, when he reached the dead end, began driving in reverse at high speed, Francescon said. He lost control, striking the hydrant.
"I heard what sounded like a bomb explosion out here," said Barbara Young, standing in her driveway, holding her miniature dachshund. "I thought somebody had driven through my house."
"Thankfully, he didn’t hit anybody," she said. "He just took out the water hydrant and our mailboxes."
Young said neighborhood children had been playing in the street. Their parents angrily approached the driver after the crash, she said.
"My neighbors wanted to take care of him," Young said.
The CHP officer intervened, she said.
Bryce Ochoa, 11, said he and some neighbors were tossing glow sticks in the street when the pickup came barreling down the street with its lights off. His dad pulled him to safety, Bryce said.
"That truck almost hit me," he said. "It was really scary."
Stevens, who was not injured, was presumed to be the same driver that San Diego County sheriff’s deputies already had been pursuing, Francescon said. He did not have details about that portion of the chase.