Suspected car thief arrested following vehicle pursuit in Watsonville

A man was arrested Thursday in Watsonville after police said he led officers on a pursuit in a stolen vehicle.

Damian Baxter, 29, of Watsonville, was arrested on suspicion of felony evading, hit-and-run causing injury, possession of stolen property, burglary and possession of a controlled substance, according to police.

Officers responded at 8:31 p.m. to the parking lot of the Economy Inn at 584 Auto Center Drive after an officer located a Honda Accord that had been reported stolen earlier in the day out of Gilroy.

Officers saw the vehicle leaving the inn and tried to stop the vehicle, but the driver, later identified as Baxter, sped away, police said.

Officers pursued the vehicle throughout the city streets but called off the pursuit for public safety reasons, police said.

Police said Baxter later crashed the vehicle into another vehicle near the 300 block of East Lake Avenue.

Baxter fled the crash scene on foot, but he was later apprehended after he was found hiding in a nearby garage, police said.

Police used a dog named Ranger to track the suspect.

A female passenger in the Honda and the driver of the vehicle Baxter crashed into both suffered minor injuries during crash, police said.

Baxter was in possession of heroin when he was taken into custody, police said.
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