Police make arrest after chase across city, into airport rental car center

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SAN DIEGO — Police chased a car through city streets in San Diego for almost an hour Wednesday afternoon, finally making an arrest after the driver lost a tire and ran into the car rental center at San Diego International Airport.

Authorities originally headed to El Cajon Boulevard in the Teralta East area around noon for a “welfare check” on a man who callers said was sitting in his car and appeared distraught, San Diego Police Department said. But when police pulled up to the area, officers say the man sped off.

The driver headed west in his white sedan, making it through Hillcrest around 12:30 p.m. and reaching the downtown area a short time later.

A police helicopter flew overhead to track the vehicle, and several officers in SUVs could be seen close behind the car. The man was winding slowly through side streets, at times ignoring stop signs, stoplights and lane markers, and occasionally driving the wrong way in the busy downtown corridor.

Around 1 p.m., the driver made his way through Little Italy and came to a stop in the long driveway outside the airport car rental center near Pacific Highway. The driver ran inside the building, and helicopter video showed that one of the car’s front tires had been shredded to the rim. Police later said the damage was from a spike strip the man ran over early in the chase.

Several officers ran inside after the driver, and police say they took a man into custody after a brief struggle. No injuries were reported, but no further details were shared about the man’s wellbeing or potential criminal charges.

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