EL CAJON, Calif. - An auto-theft suspect led officers on a road chase Friday from Kearny Mesa to Spring Valley, where she caused an injury collision and was arrested, authorities reported.
The roughly 30-minute pursuit began shortly after 10:30 a.m., when San Diego police spotted a stolen 2000 Ford F-150 at Shawline Street and Clairemont Mesa Boulevard.
When an officer tried to pull the driver over, she refused to yield, heading to the south on city streets briefly before entering Interstate 805, SDPD public affairs Lt. Kevin Mayer said.
The woman, later identified as 48-year-old Kristen Marie Hyatt, fled at speeds up to about 90 mph into National City, then to the east on state Route 54, north on SR-125 and east again on SR-94.
Reaching an unincorporated area near Cottonwood Golf Course, the suspect crashed the truck into a 2010 Toyota FJ Cruiser SUV at Jamacha Road and Willow Glen Drive, according to the California Highway Patrol. Officers then took her into custody, and medics transported her to Sharp Memorial Hospital for treatment of a leg injury.
The other motorist was taken to the same San Diego trauma center for evaluation of complaints of pain.
George Osper told 10News it was a surreal moment. He said, "Everything slows down" and "the scary part … there was nothing I could do. I noticed something coming at me like a rocket."
Osper had just a split second's warning to brace for the impact; air bags saved the day.
"I really didn't feel anything except a jolt, but very glad to be here," said Osper.
San Diego Police Lt. Misty Cedrun said, "It could have been a lot worse. We don't ever like to see a pursuit end in a crash. I think had we let her go the possibility of what she could have done if she's under the influence; the risk to public safety could have been far worse."
A retired public defender, Osper said it's ironic that he's defended people who've done the same thing.
Does he think police should have dropped off the chase?
"Well, in retrospect I think yes, but I don't know if that would have slowed her down either," Osper told 10News.
Brandon Sheaffer, a sign spinner who was on the corner just a few dozen feet away, said, "Cops came guns drawn … telling her to stay there. She just like, 'I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to.' Freaking out; you could tell she was on something."
Hyatt was expected to be booked into county jail on suspicion of auto theft, felony evasion of police and driving while intoxicated, the lieutenant said.
The suspect apparently is acquainted with the truck's owner, who alleged in a theft report that Hyatt had taken her keys and driven off in the pickup without permission, according to police.
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