OCEANSIDE, Calif. — Three men led Oceanside police on a dangerous pursuit that started for no obvious reason Sunday, running red lights and eventually ditching their car before two of them were tracked down and arrested.
The third suspect remained at large Sunday evening, as a San Diego County Sheriff’s Department helicopter was unable to track him down and eventually left the area.
Officers later determined that the car had been stolen, but say that if it weren’t for the suspects’ own erratic behavior, they never would have suspected them of a crime.
It all began about 4:10 p.m., when the occupants of a Honda Civic apparently spotted a patrol car near the intersection of College Boulevard and Mesa Drive.
“One of our officers was just driving around College and Mesa and this car started driving on the shoulder and running red lights,” Oceanside police Lt. Tom Wayer said.
The driver sped through the area with officers in pursuit before pulling over in the 4600 block of Calle del Greco, in a nearby residential neighborhood, Wayer said. Both he and two passengers then got out of the car and tried to get away from officers on foot.
Police were able to arrest two of the men by about 4:35 p.m., according to Wayer, but the third was still missing Sunday evening.
Initially, it hadn’t been clear what caused the men to flee. “Probably paranoid, they’re doing something illegal and they think the officer knows they’re doing something illegal,” Wayer said at the time.
That turned out to be the case: Officers later determined the car had been reported stolen.