Street racing driver with baby T-bones car

Posted at 5:55 AM, May 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-02 21:32:26-04

SAN DIEGO - California Highway Patrol officers found a six-month-old baby in the backseat of a speeding Honda Civic after it smashed into another car during a pursuit in City Heights Sunday night.

Sometime before 10:30 p.m., CHP officers spotted two cars street racing on northbound Interstate 15, near Market Street. A chase ensued with one of the cars, a Honda Civic.

The Civic exited the freeway at University Avenue, shut off its headlights and ran a red light at an intersection at the top of the ramp, according to CHP. In the process, the Civic T-boned a Toyota Corolla, knocking the Corolla onto its side.

In the backseat of the Civic, San Diego Fire-Rescue crews found the 26-year-old driver's infant child in a baby seat that had flipped over. The baby was taken to Rady Children's Hospital with injuries not considered serious, CHP said. The driver, identified as Jesus Mendoza Figueroa, was arrested at the scene.

Mendoza was expected to face a felony child endangerment count along with charges of evading police, engaging in an illegal speed contest and driving with a suspended license. Bail is $100,000.

The female driver of the Corolla was not seriously hurt. Firefighters had to break a window to rescue her two dogs out of the back of her car.

Officers found alcohol and open containers of marijuana in the Civic, CHP said. The driver faces felony charges of evading a peace officer, child endangerment and racing. His name was not immediately confirmed.

It was not clear who would be taking care of the child.

There have been 22 street racing crashes in San Diego County from 2005 to 2015. Five people have been killed -- three were innocent victims. Fifteen have been injured.

10News asked CHP Officer Jake Sanchez about the difficulty catching street racers, and he said, "It's sporadic. If they went to the same place every time, it's something we could stop quite easily. So they look for locations that are desolate; don't get a lot of attention so they don't get caught."

Officers watch for tell-tale signs that something might be up.

"If I'm on the freeway and I'm passing 20 cars that are grouped together, moving at the same speed, and exiting and entering the freeway together; that's an indication these individuals are in a group and potentially could be street racing," Sanchez said.