Arrests Follow Police Pursuit on Modoc Road

Cop cars chased a pair of locals suspected of grand theft auto on Modoc Road on the morning of Thursday, January 25. The suspects had eluded officers the previous day. “The story began last night at 10 p.m.,” Santa Barbara Police Department spokesperson Lt. Paul McCaffrey later explained, “when an officer tried to stop a black 1994 Mitsubishi Eclipse for playing the stereo too loud.” The car sped off and officers gave up the chase because they didn’t want to endanger the public over such a minor violation. It turned out that the car was stolen out of Santa Ana, so a “be on the lookout” bulletin was issued and the next day. Undercover detective Mark Suarez spotted it on San Andres Street and fell in behind the Eclipse. “Suspicious of the large clean-cut man following them in a late model sedan,” continued McCaffrey, the driver sped onto Modoc and then up an embankment to Hacienda Drive, where two motorcycle officers stopped the car at gunpoint. The passenger, 24 year old Salvador Mendoza, surrendered, but the driver ran up the poison-oak infested hillside. Twenty officers ringed the perimeter and searched for half an hour before they found the driver, 20-year-old Santos Hernandez, hiding in the bushes. Both men were arrested on charges of auto theft and outstanding warrants.

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