Suspect in wild police chase faces judge
SAN DIEGO — A man who allegedly led police on a reckless 45-minute road chase through the coastal San Diego area last spring before abandoning his car in the East Village and escaping on foot plead not guilty Tuesday to suspicion of auto theft, burglary, vandalism, obstruction and drug charges.
He is now being held without bail.
Ahren Michael Haugley, 41, was discovered last Thursday passed out in a stolen car in Rancho Penasquitos and arrested.
Haugley is still facing charges stemming from April 28, when he led officers on a 45-minute pursuit.
About 5:15 p.m., officers responding to a request to check on a man’s welfare found Haugley sitting in a parked red Honda Accord in the La Jolla Village area, according to police.
Seeing the officers, Haugley drove off and allegedly refused to yield, driving at high speed and so erratically that police decided to back off the chase for safety reasons. At one point, the fleeing driver allegedly drove in reverse at high speed up a freeway onramp past oncoming traffic.
The suspect continued to the north, at one point pulling over briefly in a commercial parking lot in Del Mar before continuing to drive in the direction of Solana Beach. Near the Del Mar Race Track, he turned to the east, then entered Interstate 5 and headed south as news helicopters tracked his movements from above.
Making his way through heavy rush-hour traffic, the fleeing motorist proceeded through Carmel Valley, merged onto Interstate 805 and then entered state Route 163. He then traversed Mission Valley and Hillcrest and continued into downtown San Diego.
Police said the suspect drove on city streets for a short distance and pulled into an underground parking lot below a multi-use building in the 900 block of F Street, six blocks from downtown SDPD headquarters.
Officers converged on the structure and found the Accord abandoned inside the parkade. They then fanned out in the area and searched in vain for Haugley for about 90 minutes before calling off the effort.
During the chase, however, police were able to identify the suspect.