The low-speed pursuit of a stolen taxi ended early this morning with the arrest of Travis Ean Costa-Lopez, a Santa Barbara transient.
The Santa Barbara Police Department was first notified of the stolen City Cab taxi at 3:53 a.m. by the owner of the vehicle, from the 115 La Cumbre Street gas station from which his car was stolen. The man left his keys in the car while stopping into the station, giving Costa-Lopez the opportunity to get in and drive away. The police first saw the stolen taxi at the corner of State Street and Las Positas Road. They immediately turned on the lights and asked the driver to pull over, but Costa-Lopez refused and continued driving.
According to Lt. Ralph Molina, Costa-Lopez was obedient to traffic laws as he drove through town toward the beach; he obeyed traffic lights and used his turning signal. He eventually turned eastbound on Cabrillo Street, got on Coast Village Road, and turned on the southbound Highway 101. The driver maintained his un-aggressive driving, barely reaching 70 miles per hour throughout the pursuit. When Costa-Lopez reached Ventura, he was able to avoid a tire spike strip laid down by police by making an exit at Highway 33. He turned right around and continued on the 101 toward Oxnard. He then got on Highway 1 (Oxnard Boulevard) and continued through downtown Oxnard heading toward Port Hueneme. He continued on Highway 1 until the intersection of Topanga Canyon and Highway 101. It was there that officers boxed the taxi in and were able to make an arrest. The arrest was made at 5:40 a.m., and Costa-Lopez was immediately taken to Santa Barbara County Jail.
Ventura County Sheriff’s Department, Oxnard Police Department and California Highway Patrol were all involved in the pursuit.