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Suspect wrecks stolen car in chase

Modified: Tuesday, Oct 15th, 2013

Watsonville Police Master Officer Jess Ojeda investigates the scene of a solo-vehicle crash on Riverside Drive at Rodriguez Street Tuesday where a suspect tried to evade police in the stolen car. He was apprehended after he crashed. (Photo by Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian)

WATSONVILLE ó A Watsonville man is in custody and a car that was reported stolen out of Santa Cruz in January has been recovered following a short but dramatic chase Tuesday.

Watsonville Police came upon the 2012 Honda Civic on West Beach Street just after 8 a.m. and recognized it as a stolen car, said Sgt. Brian Ridgway. When they tried to pull the Honda over the driver, Ramon Ortiz Rocha, 21, of Watsonville, sped off, Master Officer Jess Ojeda said.

Rocha then led police on a bizarre looping pursuit around Rodriguez, Walker, Ford and Main streets before he lost control of the car at Riverside Drive at Rodriguez. The maroon Honda initially struck a large boulder in a center median, which pitched the car onto the median where it came to a rest. Thatís when Rocha hopped out and tried to sprint away from police. His plan didnít work. Police were able to catch up with him on Rodriguez Street after he jumped over several fences in surrounding yards. He was taken into custody following a brief struggle with police.

Rocha was arrested on suspicion of vehicle theft, reckless failure to yield, resisting arrest and probation violation.

Anyone with information regarding this case is strongly encouraged to call the Watsonville Police Department Crime Tip line at 728-3544 or the Watsonville Police Department Investigation Bureau at 768-3352

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