Minivan driver gets boxed in by big rig to end South Bay police chase

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SAN DIEGO — A man was arrested Thursday after a winding, nearly two-hour chase through the South Bay that ended when a big rig and several other vehicles boxed him in as he tried to drive on the sidewalk.

It all started with a call to Chula Vista Police Department about a man who flashed a gun at a someone in the city around noon, officials said. A short time later, officers spotted a minivan believed to be involved in that incident, and gave chase when the driver refused to pull over for them.

The driver of the van, which was light-colored with a dark “racing stripe,” could be seen trailed by officers as he drove on side streets and then on interstates 5 and 805 before exiting on Orange Avenue around 1:30 p.m.

The driver was not traveling at high speeds as he wound through side streets, though he did appear to ignore traffic lanes and signals at times. More than once, the van rolled slowly through a shopping center parking lot only to exit on the other side, with as many as 10 police SUVs following close behind.

Shortly before 2 p.m., the driver tried to exit another parking lot on Moss Street near Third Avenue but found a Sysco big rig blocking the driveway. As he angled his car to drive along the sidewalk and avoid the truck, two SUVs sped to the other side of it, boxing him in.

The SUVs turned out to be unmarked law enforcement vehicles, as plainclothes officers jumped out in tactical vests and held the driver at gunpoint, with officers from the marked SUVs soon joining them.

Authorities massed around the van with their weapons drawn. One of the officers smashed the van’s windows and others worked to pry open the van’s sliding door. Eventually, they dragged out a man, who was led away in handcuffs a short time later.

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