A convicted felon was arrested Tuesday after leading deputies on a high-speed pursuit in California City while carrying the body of a dead man in the bed of his truck, authorities said.
The body was spotted about 2:30 a.m. in the bed of William Patterson's red pickup truck as he traveled through Mojave and California City — all while armed with a rifle, said Ray Pruitt, spokesman of the Kern County Sheriff's Department.
California City police tried to stop him, but he continued driving and led officers on a chase for more than 20 minutes. Police lost sight of him after he drove onto a dirt road.
They later found his abandoned truck on Tehachapi Willow Springs Road. The man's body was still inside the bed of the truck.
Police searched the surrounding foothills for Patterson and eventually found him hiding in a desert area.
It is unclear whether Patterson is responsible for the man's death, Pruitt said. Coroner's investigators must still identify the man and determine a cause of death.
Until then, Patterson is being held on suspicion of illegal disposal of a body, evading police and being an ex-felon in possession of a firearm.
Sheriff's homicide detectives served search warrants at properties in California City and the Rosamond and Mojave area as they investigate what happened to the man.