LEMON GROVE, Calif. - An auto theft suspect led deputies on a brief road chase through Lemon Grove late this afternoon before getting into a crash that knocked over a fire hydrant next to a home, sending a geyser of water into the air.
The pursuit began shortly after 4:30 p.m. and ended a short time later when the suspect's car careened off the roadway in a residential neighborhood in the 7500 block of Central Avenue, sheriff's Lt. Scott Amos said.
Deputies arrested two people – a man and a woman – at the scene of the accident.
It was not immediately clear if the driver of the stolen sedan was in custody, the lieutenant said.
At the time, deputies did not realize that there was a third person hiding in the car. While the two who ran were being arrested, the third person snuck away.
Neighbor Beronica Colum was inside her house when she heard the stolen car crash through her fence, sheering off the fire hydrant in her front yard.
"Real loud noise… I was sitting in that room right there and I heard the noise and looked out," she said. "It just was water everywhere."
She then grabbed her dog and granddaughter and made a run for it.
"I got her so we could run out the back because the water was just coming so fast and I said, 'I don't know how to swim' so we came to the back door," said Colum.
When they got there, they came face-to-face with that third person who had been hiding in the stolen car. Colum said he was standing inside their back door.
"He told us to be quiet and lock the door behind him, so I grabbed my granddaughter and my dog and we ran out the front," said Colum.
When asked what was going through her mind, Colum said, "I was really scared, very scared and you know something, everybody needs to keep their doors locked at all times because you never know what's going to happen."
Shortly after, deputies entered and did a full sweep of the home but did not find the man. Colum described him as Hispanic. He was wearing a black bandana on his head and a black jersey, she said.
It took utility crews about 10 minutes to halt the overflow from the ruptured water line. No flooding damage was reported.