Hearing set for man accused of leading police in wild chase from downtown to South Bay

Jose Cruz Guzman facing several charges

SAN DIEGO - A preliminary hearing was scheduled to begin Friday for a man accused of leading police on a wild pursuit through downtown San Diego and into the South Bay.

Jose Cruz Guzman, 34, is charged with assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm, hit-and-run causing property damage and failing to obey a lawful order, according to jail records. A judge will decide at the end of the preliminary hearing whether there's enough evidence to order Guzman to stand trial.

San Diego police alleged Guzman got into a hit-and-run crash in a gray Nissan pickup at Ash Street and First Avenue in the Core-Columbia district of downtown San Diego shortly before 12:30 a.m. on Oct. 4. He then allegedly sped off when a patrol officer investigating the accident tried to pull him over near the crash scene.

The fleeing motorist crisscrossed over various streets near San Diego Bay -- speeding, swerving, driving on the wrong side on one-way roads, steering directly toward officers and gesturing at them in a "taunting" manner, said Lt. Andra Brown, a San Diego Police Department spokeswoman. After several minutes, a sergeant called off the pursuit for safety reasons, she said.

About a half-hour later, a patrol officer saw the same gray Nissan pickup heading north at high speed on Fourth Avenue near F Street in Chula Vista and gave chase, according to Chula Vista police Capt. Gary Wedge.

The driver led police back and forth through the western side of the South Bay city, at times on Interstate 5. At one point, Guzman swerved across several lanes on the freeway and sideswiped a car, apparently on purpose, the captain said.

After about 20 minutes, the fleeing motorist jumped out of the moving pickup at Glover Avenue and Mankato Street and ran off as it crashed into a trash can and rolled to a stop. Within two minutes, a police lieutenant had Guzman under arrest at gunpoint, Wedge said.

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