Spike strips lead to capture of Fairfield truck thief

A wild California Highway Patrol pursuit briefly shut down the Bay Bridge Monday, before coming to an end in the middle of the busy freeway.
March 3, 2014 6:06:28 PM PST
A wild California Highway Patrol pursuit briefly shut down the Bay Bridge Monday, before coming to an end in the middle of a busy freeway.

The chase lasted nearly two hours and spanned 40 miles of freeway, but the CHP ended it safely using spike strips.

CHP officers showed ABC7 News how those strips work and why the truck, even with its flat tires, didn't spin out of control.

Officers deployed the spike strips just before the toll plaza to puncture the tires. The spikes are not like nails, they're hollow spikes that sip the air out of the tires so they slowly go flat.

"As you can see he continued to drive until all the tires were blown out and the party finally gave up," said CHP Officer Mike Ferguson.

Some of the spikes stayed in the tires. It's all part of a plan to arrest the driver without anyone getting hurt.

"This started with a 911 call from the owner of the company and of the vehicle saying that his vehicle had just been stolen and he sighted a disgruntled employee with the vehicle," said Ferguson.

The former employee was 46-year-old Hector Fuentes, who last worked for Jim Cassil Trucking four years ago, according to the owner.

Fuentes applied to get his job back in November, but was turned down. When Fairfield police spotted him sitting in the truck, he put it in drive and got on the freeway. The CHP took it from there.

"Not very many of our pursuits involve trucks of this size. It is somewhat unusual because of that," said Ferguson.

Loaded with cargo and weighing 26,000 pounds, the truck stayed at the speed limit as officers surrounded it. Then, Fuentes slowed down after hitting the spike strips, snarling traffic as he went.

The truck finally ground to a stop on Highway 101 near Cesar Chavez Street. Fuentes jumped out and ran, but officers chased and tackled him.

"It looks like, at the very least, he'll be charged with a stolen vehicle and evading," said Ferguson.

With Fuentes headed to jail, it took another hour to move the truck and re-open the lanes.

The shredded tires wrapped around the axle and workers had to haul the ruck to a parking lot for new rims before it could be towed.


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