Chase ends with driver doing yoga poses next to smashed car, officials say


An erratic pursuit by deputies through a Northern California town ended when the driver crashed into a utility pole and launched into an impromptu yoga session in a field, sheriff’s officials said Tuesday.

The bizarre situation began Thursday morning when Mendocino County sheriff’s deputies were called about a woman who had parked her silver Nissan Xterra and was trespassing on property near Valley and Eastside roads in Willits.

Deputies couldn’t find the woman, so they left. But nearly three hours later, deputies received another call from a person reporting that the same woman had returned to the property and was lying face-down in a field.


Deputies responded and found Jennifer Risch, 39, sitting in the driver’s seat of the SUV, they said. When they tried to speak with her, she started the vehicle and drove off, sheriff’s officials said.

“Risch was driving with disregard for safety of pedestrians walking near the roadway, traveling over the solid double yellow lines and into the oncoming northbound traffic lane,” the agency wrote in a statement.

Deputies followed the SUV with their lights and sirens on for about two miles before the vehicle struck a utility pole, toppling it. The SUV plowed through a fence into a field about 100 yards from the road, officials said.

When the car stopped, officials say, Risch opened the driver’s door, got out and started performing yoga poses. Deputies waited for emergency responders and additional sheriff’s personnel to arrive before they approached her.

Risch was taken to a hospital and later arrested on suspicion of reckless evading, sheriff’s officials said.