High-speed chase on I-15 ends with arrests

SAN DIEGO - A group of women were taken into custody early Monday morning following a lengthy high-speed chase involving a stolen SUV on Interstate 15.

According to the California Highway Patrol, the pursuit began at about 11:30 p.m. Sunday on I-15 near Carroll Canyon Road in the Mira Mesa area, when a trooper attempted to pull over a 2009 Toyota Highlander that had been reported stolen.

The driver, believed to be 20-year-old Stephanie Renee Wells, allegedly refused to stop, and a pursuit ensued at speeds over 100 mph. It wound its way north into Scripps Ranch, where the suspect vehicle attempted to make a U-turn and head back south on I-15. Spike strips that were deployed near the Lilac Bridge deflated all the vehicle's tires, but it kept going, CHP officials said.

The vehicle continued to the Deer Springs Road off-ramp, where it limped to a stop. CHP officials said that when the driver refused to throw out her keys, officers shot out the vehicle's windows with a beanbag.

There were no reported injuries.

The chase ended at about 12:30 a.m. Monday, and Wells and four passengers in the vehicle were taken into custody.

After being put into the back of a squad car, Wells allegedly became belligerent, spitting on officers and shattering a rear window by kicking it, authorities said.

Wells was booked into county jail on suspicion of felony evasion of police, auto theft, grand theft, being in possession of stolen property and vandalism. She was being held on $50,000 bail pending arraignment, scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.

It was unclear if the people who had been along for the ride during the pursuit also would face charges.

Several motorists reported getting flat tires due to the spike strip, which remained partially in the roadway after the stolen SUV rolled over it, Bettencourt said.

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