SAN DIEGO — Deputies say a man swiped an Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme from a San Diego home as he tried to escape authorities Thursday, leading them on a high-speed chase in the stolen car.
Officers with a private security company in Rancho Santa Fe called the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department around 7:30 a.m. about an apparent crash on Puerta Del Sol, a tree-lined street in the neighborhood dotted with private driveways.
The fire department arrived first and found a man, who officials later identified as 48-year-old Jason Collins, sitting asleep or unconscious in a parked car with a woman. The first responders saw a handgun in the car, according to the sheriff’s department, and the man told them to “get back” when they woke him up to see if he was OK.
The firefighters did get back, giving way to sheriff’s deputies who surrounded the vehicle and waited for a law enforcement helicopter and K-9 unit to arrive. At some point amid the commotion, authorities say the man slipped out of his car.
“Multiple residents began calling the Sheriff’s Communications Center stating a male matching the description of Collins had been seen on their property,” the sheriff’s department wrote in a news release.
The next time they saw Collins, he was speeding down the driveway of a home on nearby Via Del Alba, behind the wheel of the old school Cutlass from 1987, the department said. A 911 caller confirmed the man had just taken the vehicle for their house.
Deputies tried to stop the man but he was able to escape the area. Authorities chased behind him until they could get a spike strip on the road, flattening the stolen car’s tires on El Camino Real near Del Mar Heights Road, further south in the city of San Diego. “Collins was taken into custody without further incident,” officials said.
Deputies never found the handgun spotted by firefighters, which Collins told officials had been a toy. Authorities also learned that Collins’ female companion had been his girlfriend. She was unhurt and not suspected of a crime, according to the sheriff’s department.
Collins was booked into jail in Vista on suspicion of burglary and charges related to the chase.