6 cars drive over spike strip left on freeway after chase

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DEER SPRINGS, Calif. — Six cars were disabled after running over a spike strip used to stop a stolen SUV during a high-speed chase early Monday, motorists said.

Punctured TireThe chase ended in on southbound Interstate 15 in the Deer Springs area after the California Highway Patrol deployed the spike strip to stop a stolen Toyota Highlander. After the SUV came to a stop, the four women inside refused orders to get out, so officers shot out the rear window with a bean-bag shotgun, the CHP said.

The pursuit began on northbound Interstate 15 at Carroll Canyon Road about 11:45 p.m. Sunday, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Officers chased a stolen Toyota Highlander and its occupants from the Mira Mesa area to Rainbow, where the pursuit turned southbound on I-15. That’s when the CHP deployed the spike strip. The 20-year-old driver, Stephanie Wells of San Diego, slowed the disabled vehicle to a halt just north of Gopher Canyon Road, but refused repeated orders to toss out the keys and exit the SUV, Bettencourt said. She remained uncooperative until CHP personnel used a beanbag shotgun to break out the rear window, he said. Officers then took the five occupants into custody.

After being put into the back of a squad car, Wells allegedly became belligerent, spitting on officers and shattering a rear window by kicking it.

Wells was booked into county jail on suspicion of felony evasion of police, auto theft, grand theft, being in possession of stolen property and vandalism. She was being held on $50,000 bail pending arraignment, scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.

It was unclear if the people who had been along for the ride during the pursuit also would face charges.

Several motorists reported getting flat tires due to the spike strip, which remained partially in the roadway after the stolen SUV rolled over it, Bettencourt said.