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Police arrest 4 on suspicion of evading, obstruction after high-speed pursuit in Costa Mesa

Costa Mesa police on Monday arrested four Los Angeles residents after a traffic stop led to a high-speed pursuit.
Costa Mesa police on Monday arrested four Los Angeles residents after a traffic stop led to a high-speed pursuit, officials reported.
(Light File)

Costa Mesa police on Monday arrested four men on suspicion of evading police and obstruction after a high-speed vehicle pursuit led to a yard-by-yard search for the possibly armed suspects near the city’s Mesa Del Mar neighborhood, officials reported.

The incident began at 12:15 p.m. Monday, when an officer patrolling a parking lot on the 3300 block of Bristol Street near South Coast Plaza observed a white sedan with dark tinted windows in violation of California’s vehicle code and initiated a stop, according to a release issued Tuesday.

The driver of the vehicle, later identified as Dennis Junior Johnson, 25, of Los Angeles did not possess a valid ID and initially gave the officer false information about his identity.

When the officer asked Johnson to step out of the car, he fled from the scene, driving south on Bear Street with three passengers still inside the sedan.

A pursuit ensued, as the suspect’s car reached speeds above 80 mph, police reported.

At one point, the sedan was driven across a center median on Bear Street and into oncoming traffic. Johnson reportedly drove through a red light in his attempt to flee.

Although officers lost sight of the vehicle near the intersection of Bear and Baker streets, the sedan was soon located near the junction of Bear and St. Clair streets, after it had hit a curb and crashed into a nearby stop sign, according to the release.

But the chase didn’t end there. Johnson and the three passengers fled the scene on foot, running west into a residential area, according to witnesses. Police reported a handgun was found in the roadway near the suspect vehicle.

Officers established a perimeter in the area and conducted a yard-to-yard search for the four men, the release indicated.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department provided K-9 assistance, while the Anaheim Police Department aided in the search effort with the use of a helicopter.

Johnson was located on the 800 block of Sonora Road. Two more suspects — identified as Myles Edward Rutledge and Naypone Malik Gaines, both 22, of Los Angeles — were found hiding together in the backyard of a home on the 2800 block of Drake Avenue.

A third passenger, Dvaryae Deshawn Bryant, 18, of Los Angeles, had been hiding in a storage bin in the backyard of another home on the 800 block of Santiago Road and was detained, police reported Tuesday.

The officer who’d initially stopped the vehicle identified all four suspects, who were arrested and booked on suspicion of evading police, obstruction and felony possession of a firearm.

Of the four suspects, only Rutledge remained in custody in Orange County’s Theo Lacy Facility as of Tuesday afternoon.

The other three men were released on bond earlier that morning, according to an online inmate locator maintained by the Sheriff’s Department.

Anyone who may have additional information on the incident is asked to contact Det. Jerad Korte at (714) 754-5051 or Det. Sgt. Monique Beckner at (714) 754-5352.

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