ORANGE : Officer Swerves Into Car, Ends Hour Chase

A CHP officer intentionally swerved into a fleeing car on the Santa Ana Freeway early Tuesday, ending a pursuit that began in San Diego County more than an hour before, authorities said.

The driver, Aaron Thomas Esguerra, 20, of National City, was arrested about 5:45 a.m. after his car spun halfway around and came to a stop in the northbound lanes of the freeway near the Chapman Avenue exit, the California Highway Patrol said.

The CHP maneuver that stopped Esguerra, dubbed “legal intervention,” is done when the pursuing officer uses the front, left fender of the patrol car to nudge the right, rear fender of the fleeing vehicle, authorities said. The rear wheels of the suspect’s car then skid around in a half circle. The CHP only uses the maneuver when the fleeing vehicle is traveling about 35 m.p.h. or slower, a spokeswoman said.

“It works like a charm” to stop some suspects, said CHP Officer Angel Johnson.


Esguerra was driving in San Diego about 4:35 a.m. when police there tried to pull him over for speeding, Johnson said. With officers in pursuit, he then drove north along the San Diego Freeway into Orange County, the CHP said.

Esguerra continued onto the Santa Ana Freeway and had to slow down near the Chapman Avenue exit because of traffic, according to Johnson. When he slowed to about 35 m.p.h., the CHP officer swerved into his car, she said.

Esguerra was not injured. He was booked into Orange County Jail in Santa Ana on suspicion of driving with a suspended license and evading arrest. He was being held in lieu of $10,000 bail and was scheduled to be arraigned today.