A 25-year-old San Diego man was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of stealing a CHP vehicle while he was drunk and racing south on Interstate 15 before crashing in Fallbrook.
Aaron Akira Teruya was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving on I-15 in Temecula when he climbed behind the wheel of a CHP vehicle and sped away, according to CHP spokesman Jim Bettencourt.
The incident began when Teruya, driving a 2000 Ford Focus, smashed into a truck’s trailer “at a high rate of speed,” the CHP said.
A CHP officer, arriving at the scene, called for a tow truck and placed Teruya in handcuffs behind his back and put him in the right side of the CHP vehicle’s front seat.
As the officer was outside the vehicle assisting the tow truck driver, Teruya managed to slip the handcuffs over his legs and into position in the front of his body, the CHP said.
He then drove south on I-15. The officer jumped into the tow truck and told the tow truck driver to follow the CHP vehicle.
With the tow truck in pursuit, the CHP vehicle left I-15 at California 76 and then turned onto a dirt road before smashing into a large rock.
The driver left the vehicle and ran into an area of Fallbrook that is thick with weeds. Soon the tow truck arrived, as did officers from the CHP, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.
A police helicopter circled the scene looking for the driver. Within minutes, Teruya was located and taken into custody without incident, the CHP said.
He was booked in the southwest jail of Riverside County. He faces multiple charges including drunk driving, resisting arrest and vehicle theft. There were no injuries during the incident.