Driver careens down steep embankment during police pursuit

ALPINE, Calif. –A man was airlifted to the hospital after careening down a ravine during a short police chase in Alpine early Monday.

Around 6 a.m., a deputy spotted the 25-year-old driver allegedly tampering with or attempting to steal gas from fuel pumps at a San Diego County Roads Department facility at 2914 Tavern Road, Sgt. Juan Lopez said. When the deputy approached the man, he fled in a Toyota Camry, speeding south toward Dehesa Road.

“Speeds reached 60 mph and the pursuit lasted for about (half a) mile, when the suspect failed to negotiate a curve along the rural winding road,” Lopez said. “The suspect lost control of the Camry, crashing down a steep ravine. The suspect then fled on foot into thick vegetation, eluding deputies.”

Deputies searched about an hour before finding the visibly injured suspect hiding in thick brush east of the crash site, Lopez said. Firefighters from Alpine and Lakeside helped hoist him from the ravine and loaded him onto an air ambulance for transport to a trauma hospital.

The suspect, who was not immediately identified, is expected to recover from his injuries. Once released from medical care, the man will likely face charges that include delaying and evading an officer, Lopez said.