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High-Speed Chase Ends in Crash, 3 Arrests in Santa Barbara

Two of the suspects were involved in a similar pursuit earlier this month on Highway 154

A high-speed pursuit that began in Buellton ended Friday afternoon when the vehicle being chased crashed near Santa Barbara and three people were arrested.

Two of those taken into custody were involved in a similar chase earlier this month, as was the suspect vehicle, a black Jeep Cherokee, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department.

Arrested Friday for felony evading with a motor vehicle were Camilla DePerna, 24, of Los Osos, and Shane Lydick, 34, of Thousand Oaks, said sheriff's spokeswoman Kelly Hoover.

The pair, along with Kristy DeLaCerna, 36, of Thousand Oaks, were also charged with possession of burglary tools, Hoover said.

The three are all acquaintances, she said.

The incident began at about 2:45 p.m. at a gasoline station on Avenue of Flags in Buellton, Hoover said.

"Sheriff’s deputies received a report of a male suspect, Lydick, who was reportedly hitting the windows of a black Cherokee jeep with his fists and was armed with a knife," Hoover said.

Camilla DePerna, 24, of Los Osos is escorted to a waiting patrol car after being arrested following a high-speed chase from Buellton to Santa Barbara. (Urban Hikers photo)

The Jeep headed southbound on Highway 101 with deputies and CHP officers in pursuit.

"Deputies recognized the Jeep as the same vehicle that was involved in a pursuit on Oct. 3 on Highway 154," Hoover said.

During Friday's chase, which at times topped speeds of 110 mph,  the suspect vehicle was using all lanes and both shoulders of the freeway to pass other cars along the Gaviota Coast.

“It was probably one of the most unsafe pursuits I’ve ever seen,” sheriff's Lt. Butch Arnoldi told Noozhawk.

It's extremely lucky that there were no accidents during the pursuit and no injuries, Arnoldi said.

Shane Lydick, 34, of Thousand Oaks was charged with felony evading with a motor vehicle and possession of burglary tools. (Zack Warburg photo)

He added that only one vehicle — a law enforcement car — was damaged in addition to the Jeep.

The pursuit continued into the cities of Goleta and Santa Barbara, and law enforcement was aided by a county helicopter.

Shortly after 3 p.m., the Jeep exited Highway 101 onto Turnpike Road, and almost hit a pedestrian, according to emergency radio traffic.

The fleeing suspects then headed east on Cathedral Oaks Road/Foothill Road, before turning north onto Alamar Avenue, which dead ends at the private Willowbrook Ranch.

The car continued onto the ranch, with a fleet of law enforcement vehicle behind.

"At one point, DePerna exited the driver’s seat, but then returned and continued driving on ranch roads trying to escape," Hoover said. "Upon reaching the main ranch entrance, which had been blocked by law enforcement vehicles, DePerna rammed into an unoccupied sheriff’s patrol unit, then struck a pepper tree and the main ranch gate overhead sign, causing it to fall down and crash.

"DePerna then attempted to put the vehicle in reverse, at which time the sheriff’s deputy, whose vehicle had been rammed, backed his patrol car into the Jeep, pinning it between the tree and the patrol car."

A sheriff's deputy takes information from Kristy DeLaCerna, 36, of Thousand Oaks, who was arrested Friday along with two others following a high-speed pursuit from Buellton to Santa Barbara. (Tom Bolton / Noozhawk photo)

The three suspects initially refused to exit the vehicle, so deputies broke out the windows with their batons and arrested them without incident, Hoover said.

The suspects were observed throwing items, possibly narcotics, from the vehicle during the pursuit, and those items were recovered, Arnoldi said.

Both women and the Jeep Cherokee were involved in a similar pursuit on Highway 154 on Oct. 3, Hoover said. 

The Sheriff's Department was advised that DePerna, who was being sought by Los Angeles authorities for a no-bail felony warrant for burglary, was located at the Chumash Casino & Resort. 

Deputies attempted a traffic stop, but the vehicle "took off at a high rate of speed," Hoover said at the time.

Deputies pursued the Jeep from the casino parking lot onto Highway 154, where it reached speeds of 100 mph.

The pursuit was terminated for public safety concerns, Hoover said.

However, the Jeep was spotted later by a county helicopter near West Camino Cielo as it was headed toward Santa Barbara. 

DeLaCerna was taken into custody near Cathedral Oaks Road, and charged with possession of narcotics.

DePerna, who also is known as Jessica Walters, fled the vehicle near the top of San Marcos Pass, and despite a lengthy search involving K-9 units, was not located.

It was not clear how the Jeep, which had been impounded, ended up back in possession of the suspects.

Noozhawk Executive Editor Tom Bolton reported from the scene.

Noozhawk news editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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