Suspected dirt bike thief arrested after chase

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LEMON GROVE, Calif. (CNS) – An 18-year-old man was arrested Wednesday morning after leading deputies on a half-hour chase that began in Lemon Grove and ended in Balboa Park, authorities said.

Shortly before 2:50 a.m., dispatchers received a report that a man had stolen a dirt bike from a trailer in the 2300 block of Loma Drive, off Lemon Grove Avenue, San Diego County sheriff’s Lt. Jim Emig said.

Responding deputies spotted a “suspicious vehicle” leaving the area and attempted to stop the Dodge Durango SUV, but the driver took off northbound on Lemon Grove Avenue, he said.

The driver, later identified as John Deangelo Johnson, entered westbound state Route 94, then switched to northbound Interstate 805 before exiting at University Avenue, Emig said.

He weaved through several streets in the City Heights area before entering Balboa Park near the Morley Field Sports Complex and driving on the sidewalk through the park, according to the lieutenant.

The driver then got onto a dirt road and continued through the park before crashing on an embankment north of Pershing Drive, where he was taken into custody shortly after 3:30 a.m. He was then transported to a hospital for evaluation of complaints of pain, Emig said.

Deputies found stolen tools in the SUV and recovered the stolen dirt bike on Loma Drive, he said.

Johnson was booked into the San Diego Central Jail on suspicion of felony evading, possession of a stolen vehicle and possession of stolen property, according to jail records. He was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending his arraignment, scheduled for Feb. 19.

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