ACAMPO,CA- A man is dead and his female passenger wounded after leading California Highway Patrol officers on a dangerous pursuit along Highway 99 Monday morning.
Deputy Les Garcia with the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Department said the chase started just after midnight when CHP officers received a call of a stolen vehicle and located a car matching the description traveling along Highway 99 near Acampo.
The driver of the white, four-door sedan, fled and led officers on a high-speed chase, according to Garcia.
Officers were forced to abandon the pursuit several times for safety reasons, as the driver drove the wrong way on the highway to avoid arrest, Garcia said.
The driver exited at Woodbridge Road about 36 minutes after the pursuit began and officers used a PIT maneuver as he was turning right onto thefrontage road. The driver then put the car into reverse and attempted to run over officers, according to Garcia. Fearing for their safety,CHP officers and assisting San Joaquin County sheriff's deputies fired at the vehicle, hitting the driver and a female passenger inside the car.
The driver, identified as a San JoaquinJail escapee from a Manteca work crew, was pronounced dead at the scene from gunshot wounds. His passenger, who was shot at least once, was airlifted to hospital. The woman's condition was not released, and Garcia said it was unconfirmed whether she was pregnant.
The driver of the vehicle had been in jail on felony charges relating to auto theft, and had been involved in a previoushigh-speed chase with Stockton police, Garcia revealed.
Family members identified the suspect as 32-year-old Edward Neives.
"To me it seemed like just a gung ho 'We're gonna get him' attitude," said Neives' uncle George Nava.
Nava admits his nephew's actions were wrong but said police were too extreme with how they handled the situation.
"He's doing that, yes, but there's also a passenger in that vehicle who has no control over the driver so she's an innocent person," said Nava.