Police chase and canyon crash terrorize nearby witnesses
Video Report By Richard Allyn, Reporter - bio | email
SAN DIEGO (CNS/CBS8) - A motorist opened fire on a pedestrian -- but missed --while traveling through City Heights Wednesday afternoon, prompting a brief police chase that ended when the fleeing driver crashed his SUV into a gorge and made a failed attempt to escape on foot along with two cohorts.
A San Diego police detective who happened to be in the area shortly before 2:30 p.m. witnessed the non-injury shooting at Chamoune and Myrtle avenues, SDPD public-affairs Lt. Andra Brown said.
Following the gunfire, the driver of the white Chevrolet Suburban, who had two passengers with him, sped off to the south. Other officers caught up with the vehicle about a mile away, near the intersection of Home and Fairmount avenues, and tried to pull it over.
The man behind the wheel refused to yield, fleeing to the west into North Park, where he lost control and crashed the vehicle into a canyon off 33rd Street, near Grape Street, Brown said.
Officer fanned out through the neighborhood, capturing one of the suspects near the scene of the wreck and the other two hiding on residential properties along Felton Street. One of the men was taken to a hospital for treatment of injuries he apparently had suffered in the crash.
"It was total chaos," said professional dog walker Tracey Bennett, who was walking two of her charges Wednesday afternoon in Grape Street Dog Park when the SUV barreled through the packed park.
"They were coming right at me," Bennett added, "and they veered to the side at the last minute. There were so many people just running. It is a blessing no one was hurt."
Hillcrest resident Brit Donaldson was also walking her dogs when the SUV headed straight toward her. She ultimately took refuge between two concrete walls of a restroom entrance, putting her two large dogs in the restroom itself to protect them.
"I swear to God, if they had been firing, I'd be dead," she told News 8.
The arrestees' names were not immediately available, and the motive for the drive-by shooting was unclear.
Four schools near where the pursuit came to an end went into lockdown for about 45 minutes while police rounded up the suspects, Brown said.