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Man carjacks 2 vehicles before crashing into SUV, cops say

SAN DIEGO -- A man carjacked two vehicles in quick succession in the Otay Mesa West area, forcing passengers in both cars to flee just before he drove away, but he was arrested after crashing the second vehicle and injuring himself, police said Friday.

Daniel Perez, 33, was taken to a hospital in police custody Thursday night following the brief crime-spree that began about 10:25 p.m. at the Iris Avenue Transit Station, San Diego police officer Robert Heims said.

Police said Perez stole the first car in the parking lot of the trolley station at 3120 Iris Ave., stealing a Volkswagen Jetta whose driver was outside the car when Perez approached, Heims said. A woman sitting in the passenger seat was able to jump out as Perez began to drive away.

The victims called police and officers began searching the area before learning Perez ditched the Jetta about two miles from the trolley station and took a Hyundai Genesis from two men parked near Palm Avenue and Beyer Way, Heims said.

The second carjacking was more violent, with Perez grabbing the driver of the Genesis and yanking him out of the car, Heims said. A passenger in the Genesis was also able to escape before Perez sped away.

As police searched for the stolen Genesis, Perez crashed that car into an SUV on Interstate 805 at Sweetwater Road, disabling his stolen ride, Heims said. Police arrived on scene and placed him under arrest, though he was taken first to a hospital with a knee injury as SDPD robbery detectives took over the investigation.