Man accused of crashing, ditching passenger after chase through 3 cities

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SAN MARCOS, Calif. (CNS) – A suspect who led sheriff’s deputies on a pursuit through three North County cities in a stolen vehicle was captured after he crashed into a Metropolitan Transit System bus in Encinitas, authorities said Sunday.

Jesus Jesse Padilla, 21, was arrested on suspicion of three felonies: evasion, vehicle theft, and possession of a stolen vehicle, according to Sgt. Chris Hydar of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.

Padilla was booked into the Vista Detention Facility and bail was set at $50,000. He was scheduled to be arraigned on March 9.

The pursuit began at about 8:45 p.m. Saturday when deputies from the San Marcos sheriff’s station’s Gang Enforcement Team saw an occupied stolen vehicle near the intersection of Rancho Santa Fe Road and Capalina Road in San Marcos, Hydar said.

“Deputies tried to pull the stolen car over, but the driver did not stop, resulting in a vehicle pursuit through the cities of Vista, Carlsbad and Encinitas,” Hydar said. “Sheriff’s ASTREA Helicopter assisted in locating and following the stolen car from the air, enabling the patrol units to stop pursuing.”

The helicopter provided updates on the stolen car’s location as the ground units followed, the sergeant said.

The driver exited southbound Interstate 5 at Encinitas Boulevard and collided with an MTS bus, Hyder said.  No one on the bus was injured.

The driver then fled the stolen car and was apprehended by deputies, authorities said.

After the collision with the bus, the car rolled forward with a female passenger still inside, Hydar said. The car collided with a guard rail, which caused the car’s airbags to deploy. The female passenger was taken to a nearby hospital with minor injuries.

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