Briefly In Public Safety

Driver in dangerous high-speed chase eludes police

A suspected drunk driver in a stolen vehicle led Laguna Beach police on a high-speed, wrong-way chase that began at 5:29 p.m. March 9 after someone in the vehicle was observed throwing a beer can out of a window at Montage Resort Drive at Coast Highway, said Sgt. Louise Callus.

With police in pursuit, the driver sped through Laguna Beach on Coast Highway and Laguna Canyon Road, then entered the northbound lanes of the San Joaquin Hills (73) Toll Road going south, Callus said.

The driver eventually re-entered the toll road in the southbound lanes, and then continued southbound on the Santa Ana (5) Freeway, exiting at Junipero Serra Road in San Juan Capistrano and fleeing the vehicle, she said.

The driver at times reached speeds of 100 to 110 mph and drove in the median, according to police records.

After parking the vehicle in San Juan Capistrano, three people inside reportedly fled on skateboards.

Police detained one juvenile who admitted being a passenger in the vehicle, Callus said. He was released to his parents. Police determined the vehicle had been reported stolen to the Orange County Sheriff's Department. The vehicle was seized as evidence in the ongoing investigation of the case.

Woman accused of DUI

A Laguna Beach woman was arrested on suspicion of felony drunk driving after colliding with two motorcyclists at 5:11 p.m. March 10 at Glenneyre and Legion Streets, Callus said.

Kim Nicole Songster, 43, posted $100,000 bond at Orange County Jail, according to jail records.

One of the motorcyclists complained of a shoulder sprain and head, back and left jaw pain, as a result of the collision, Callus said.

Cyclist injured in fall

A 52-year-old Irvine man was injured when the bicycle he was riding struck a small rock and went down at El Toro Road and Canyon Hills Drive at 9:36 a.m. Saturday, Callus said.

The cyclist suffered a broken shoulder and scrapes. Callus said it was fortunate the man was wearing a helmet, because the helmet was severely damaged, and if he had not been wearing it, he could have died.

A Utah man was arrested at 8:26 p.m. Tuesday on suspicion of stealing liquor from a storage unit of a café in the 500 block of South Coast Highway, Callus said.

Devin Coleman, 32, allegedly stole $188 worth of beer, wine and champagne by making several trips in and out of the storage unit. He was arrested on a burglary charge and held in Orange County Jail on $50,000 bail, according to jail records.

Traffic stop results in gang arrests

Four members of a Costa Mesa street gang, one a juvenile, were arrested at 10:56 p.m. Wednesday after Laguna Beach police stopped the vehicle in which they were riding because a records check indicated it was a stolen car, Callus said.

In addition, the vehicle allegedly had a license plate from another stolen car, she said. A search of the vehicle allegedly turned up a loaded .22 caliber handgun, along with illegal drugs and alcohol, Callus said.

The registered owner of the handgun told police it had been reported stolen several years ago.

Police banquet planned

Laguna police officers will be honored for their service at the Exchange Club of Laguna Beach's annual Police Recognition Banquet at 6 p.m. March 30 at Tivoli Too, 777 Laguna Canyon Road.

The club will present the 2010 Laguna Beach Officer of the Year award, and the Laguna Beach Civilian of the Year 2010. Event sponsors are invited to participate. Tickets are $40. For more information, call Sande St. John, (949) 633-9492.

—Compiled by Cindy Frazier

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