2 Suspects Arrested After Driving Stolen Car Into Watsonville Creek; 2 Accomplices Still At-Large

Two men were arrested and two male suspects remain at-large following a stolen vehicle pursuit Thursday morning in Watsonville, police said.

At about 7:30 a.m. on Thursday an officer on patrol near the intersection of Freedom Boulevard and Alta Vista Avenue, near the Alta Vista Shopping Center, came upon a gray Honda Civic with four males occupants, Watsonville police Sgt. Henry Robles said.

Due to a recent spike in stolen Honda vehicles in the area, the officer on patrol looked up the car's license plate and discovered that it was reported stolen out of Stockton in a carjacking conducted by three armed suspects on June 19.

Additional officers were called to the scene to assist in a traffic stop of the stolen car. However, when officers attempted to stop the car in the area of Brewington Avenue and Orchard Street, the driver accelerated and attempted to evade police, Robles said.

A vehicle pursuit ensued for about 2.5 miles across surface streets in Watsonville, the sergeant said. The car then left the roadway and entered onto the levee in the area of Bronte Avenue and Delta Way traveling north, police said.

The driver slowed the car and drove into the Salsipuedes Creek, near the intersection of Lakeview Road and Crestwood Drive in unincorporated Santa Cruz County, according to police.

The car came to rest in the creek and the four occupants of the car fled on foot, police said. Watsonville police, with the assistance of the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office, the California Highway Patrol and various concerned citizens, searched the area for the suspects, police said.

Police located and arrested two suspects during the search. Stockton residents Rogelio Martinez, 21, and John Anthony Oliveri, 19, were arrested for resisting arrest.

Oliveri also had a felony arrest warrant, according to Robles.

The driver of the stolen car was not located, but later identified as 23-year-old Watsonville resident Erivan Chavez.

Police said Chavez is wanted on a felony warrant. The fourth suspect evaded police and has not yet been identified, according to the police sergeant.

A search of the stolen car revealed a large capacity magazine for a 9 mm handgun and about an ounce of suspected methamphetamine, Robles said.

Police later recovered a loaded 9 mm handgun that was thrown from the suspect vehicle.

Anyone with further information regarding this incident or with the identity of the fourth suspect is urged to contact Watsonville police at (831) 768-3350 or the Crime Tip Line at (831) 768-3544.

--Bay City News

Holly Ota July 08, 2014 at 10:07 AM
Good work WPD! Go after those other 2.


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