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Suspected car thief hospitalized after crashing stolen SUV

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SAN DIEGO – A man was in the hospital Wednesday after stealing an SUV and crashing it in the Tierrasanta neighborhood, police said.

A man in his 30s jumped into the Toyota 4Runner at 4th Avenue and F Street after the owner left it running with the keys in it. He reportedly drove on the sidewalk downtown while fleeing the scene, police said.

Police tracked the stolen SUV using owner’s cell phone, which was still in the vehicle. When they caught up to the driver, he slammed into a fence post in Tierrasanta. He was taken to the hospital after the crash and later arrested.

The suspect is believed to be tied to a hit-and-run crash reported in the area, according to San Diego police.