Saturday, March 24 , 2018, 4:52 pm | Fair 64º


Three Santa Barbara Motorcyclists Arrested After Pursuit

On Wednesday, a CHP officer is involved in a second high-speed chase on Highway 101 near Goleta, leading to another arrest

A California Highway Patrol officer was involved in a pursuit on Highway 101 just north of Goleta about 6:12 p.m. Tuesday. Speeds reached 140 mph, and the pursuit ended with three motorcycle riders in custody.

CHP officer Gustavo Garcia was monitoring traffic on southbound Highway 101 for speed enforcement. He stood outside his patrol car utilizing a handheld Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) device. He was on the right shoulder of southbound Highway 101, just north of Signal Oil, when he heard the sound of motorcycle engines revving at high RPMs. The LIDAR device confirmed the motorcycles were going about 95 mph.

The three riders looked back at Garcia and slowed down as he got in his patrol car. Garcia accelerated, positioned his patrol car directly behind them and activated his emergency lights.

One of the motorcyclists appeared to yield to the emergency lights. The other two riders looked back, then accelerated at a high rate of speed. The motorcyclist who initially appeared to yield accelerated quickly. The motorcyclists fled the pursuing patrol car through light traffic at speeds reaching 140 mph.

The motorcyclists exited the freeway at Glen Annie/Storke, turned right and continued southbound on Glen Annie. Garcia continued to give chase, utilizing lights and siren. He caught up to the motorcyclists at the intersection of Glen Annie and Hollister Avenue. He detained one rider as the other two fled the scene, traveling west on Hollister Avenue. 

Seven CHP units responded to the area. CHP Sgt. David Robertson located the abandoned motorcycles on Glen Annie South, just north of Hollister Avenue. During an investigation, the outstanding motorcyclists were identified and arrested. Two of the three riders’ driver’s licenses were suspended. One of the riders had a prior conviction for a pursuit.

Zaki S. Harb, 21, Eric Small, 18, and Cristian Small, 20, all of Santa Barbara, were booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail for violating the maximum speed limit, reckless driving and evading a peace officer.

On Wednesday, a CHP officer was involved in another high-speed pursuit of a motorcyclist on Highway 101 in Goleta.

While monitoring traffic on southbound Highway 101 from under the Glen Annie/Storke Road overcrossing about 1:50 p.m. Wednesday, officer Graham Walter observed a dark motorcycle clocked going 80 mph. The motorcyclist, identified by police as Venice resident Vernon P. Thompson, 50, accelerated to more than 130 mph. Thompson exited the freeway at the Los Carneros Road offramp.

When Thompson eventually arrived at the entrance to Highway 101 northbound at Fairview Avenue, he became confused, pulled to the right shoulder and gave up.

Thompson was arrested and booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail for violating the maximum speed limit, violating the basic speed law, reckless driving and evading a peace officer.

— James Richards is a public information officer for the California Highway Patrol-Santa Barbara Area.

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