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Driver Leads CHP on Wild Chase Through Downtown Santa Barbara

By John Palminteri, KEYT - KCOY - KKFX Senior Reporter, johnp1250@aol.com
Published On: Oct 27 2013 11:52:14 AM CDT
Updated On: Oct 28 2013 07:20:03 PM CDT

It was another beautiful morning in downtown Santa Barbara, but the relaxed feel was a far cry from what had taken place just hours earlier, when a suspected DUI driver refused to pull over. He then drove down State St. before crashing his SUV into two palm trees.

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -

A Santa Barbara man was arrested for reckless driving and other charges after a high speed chase from Highway 101 onto the streets of downtown.

Christian Mateo Perez, 19, was arrested after his vehicle crashed into a tree on State Street late Saturday night. 

CHP officers attempted to stop Perez for a traffic violation on Highway 101.  Officers reported the vehicle accelerated off the freeway, on to Carrillo Street and then on to State Street.  A news release states the driver reached "freeway speeds" and at times drove on the wrong side of the street.

Officers decided to halt their pursuit, fearing for the safety of other downtown drivers and pedestrians.

The vehicle went about 30 feet down the sidewalk on State Street, through landscaping and metal newspaper racks. Those racks were propelled into the traffic lanes as the vehicle continued back on to the street for two more blocks before crashing into a tree. 

One underage passenger in the vehicle was taken to the Juvenile Detention facility in Santa Maria because of an outstanding warrant.  Two other juveniles were released to their parents.

No pedestrians were hurt.  No other vehicles were struck.  Passersby, many of them in Halloween costumes, were stunned at the accident scene and debris left behind.

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