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Man who had baby in car during chase sentenced

Posted at 12:28 PM, Sep 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-08 21:31:55-04

SAN DIEGO - A man who had his 6-month-old child riding unrestrained in his car while leading authorities on a high-speed freeway chase that ended with a crash in City Heights was sentenced Thursday to a year in jail and five years of probation.

Jesus Mendoza, 23, pleaded guilty last month to child endangerment and evading police.

Deputy District Attorney Samira Seidu said a California Highway Patrol officer noticed the defendant drag racing at speeds of 96-97 mph on northbound Interstate 15 near Mount Hope around 10:30 p.m. on May 1.

Mendoza slowed down and pulled over onto the right-hand shoulder of the freeway near Market Street, then hit the gas again and sped off, Seidu said.

The suspect fled to the north for several miles at speeds in excess of 100 mph before exiting onto University Avenue, where his white Honda Civic -- with its lights off -- plowed into a Toyota Corolla at the end of the connector ramp, according to the prosecutor.

At the crash site, officers discovered Mendoza's 6-month-old child in an unsecured car seat that had flipped over, Seidu said. The baby was not seriously injured.

After his arrest, Mendoza posted $100,000 bail and was released from custody. He was subsequently arrested on a unrelated kidnapping charge. In that case, he pleaded guilty to corporal injury on a domestic partner.