Fleeing felon causes seven-vehicle crash

A California Highway Patrol officer gathers information at the entrance to Manresa State Beach Friday where a man plowed his SUV into five parked cars while trying to outrun police. (Photo by Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian)

WATSONVILLE — A Watsonville man suspected of several armed robberies was arrested Friday after a dramatic chase that ended with a crash involving seven vehicles on San Andreas Road.

Police initially spotted Loreto Arizpe, 33, on Alta Vista in Watsonville around 2:30 p.m. Police said he was wanted on several felony warrants.

When police tried to pull Arizpe over he sped off along Ohlone Parkway and onto Beach Road toward the ocean at about 2:40 p.m. with the California Highway Patrol and Watsonville Police in pursuit.

Arizpe was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition. He was also charged with evading officers. He was booked into Santa Cruz County Jail in lieu of $75,000 bail.


The chase then swung onto northbound San Andreas Road. After reaching speeds of 90 to 100 mph, Arizpe's black Ford Explorer's right front tire blew out.

As he tried to navigate a sweeping curve in front of Manresa State Beach, Arizpe lost control and plowed into several parked cars in a dirt pullout. Several of those cars then smashed into other parked cars.

With his Explorer mangled on the side of the road, Arizpe fled on foot and scrambled up a steep embankment before K9 officer Axel tackled him, police said.

“We believe Arizpe could be connected to several armed robberies in Watsonville and across the county,” said Watsonville Police spokeswoman Michelle Pulido.

Arizpe suffered bites, bumps and scrapes. Other than that, no other injuries were reported. The involved vehicles were badly mangled, and four of them appeared to have been mashed together.

“I’m just in shock,” said Zooey Diggory of San Juan Bautista, whose Toyota Prius was totaled. “I’m so grateful no one was in any of the cars and no one was hurt today,”

San Andreas Road was shut down for about 45 minutes, then reopened.

Watsonville Police lead Loreto Arizpe to a patrol car after he tried to run from police following the car chase. (Photo by Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian)


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