Deputies pull DUI suspect from burning vehicle

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BONITA, Calif. — A 54-year-old woman was in custody Monday on suspicion of driving drunk and fleeing from authorities in Bonita until her vehicle caught fire and she was rescued by two deputies, authorities said.

Diane Balistrie was arrested late Sunday afternoon on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, according to San Diego County sheriff’s Sgt. Roberto Lopez.

Around 3:15 p.m., a deputy attempted to pull Balistrie over on Bonita Road for an equipment violation on her vehicle, Lopez said in a statement, adding she refused to yield and a high-speed pursuit ensued.

During the pursuit, Balistrie crashed into a center median divider at Billy Casper Way and Bonita Road, damaging her vehicle’s rear left tire.

“(She) continued west on Bonita Road, now driving on the metal rim,” Lopez said.

Her vehicle became disabled in the 3800 block of Bonita Road, but Balistrie continued to press on the accelerator, causing friction between the rim and the asphalt, Lopez said, adding that friction sparked a fire.

Two deputies, including the one who tried to pull Balistrie over, pulled her from the burning vehicle before fire crews arrived to put out the blaze, Lopez said. No one was injured.