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Local News

2 Arrested After High-Speed Pursuit Through Santa Maria, Nipomo

Man and woman taken into custody at gunpoint after chase to rural Arroyo Grande and back to Santa Maria

Ruben Anthony Najera,, who was taken into custody Thursday after a high-speed chase through Santa Maria and Nipomo, sits in a Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department vehicle. He was determined not to be involved in the pursuit, but was being held on two $25,000 arrest warrants. Click to view larger
Ruben Anthony Najera,, who was taken into custody Thursday after a high-speed chase through Santa Maria and Nipomo, sits in a Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department vehicle. He was determined not to be involved in the pursuit, but was being held on two $25,000 arrest warrants. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

Two people were taken into custody Thursday afternoon — and a third remained at large — following a high-speed pursuit that began in the Santa Maria area and traveled into southern San Luis Obispo County, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department.

The chase began in the city of Santa Maria shortly before 3 p.m., when deputies with the sheriff's Compliance Response Team spotted Nicholas McCloud, who is on probation for resisting an officer with force or violence, in the passenger seat of a  a white 1994 Lincoln Continental on the 100 block of East Donovan Road, according to Lt. Kevin Huddle.

A traffic stop was attempted, but the female driver — identified as Felicia Rae Hendricks, 23, of Nipomo — sped away, Huddle said. 

After traveling through Santa Maria, the driver headed north on Highway 101 into San Luis Obispo County, with speeds topping 100 mph and passing vehicles on the right shoulder at least once.

Nicholas McCloud Click to view larger
Nicholas McCloud

The pursuing officer lost sight of the vehicle after it exited the highway at Los Berros Road in rural Arroyo Grande. 

A law enforcement helicopter was requested to help search for the suspect's vehicle.

Multiple law enforcement officers, including personnel from the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Department, were looking for the missing vehicle and preparing to set up spike strips in multiple locations to stop the fleeing driver. 

After California Highway Patrol officers spotted the vehicle again, they resume the pursuit, which led back into Santa Maria, before the vehicle disappeared again.

Felicia Rae Hendricks Click to view larger
Felicia Rae Hendricks

A perimeter was set up in the area, with the assistance of the Santa Maria Police Department and the CHP, and at approximately 3:40 p.m., Hendricks taken into custody at gunpoint in the northwestern neighborhoods of Santa Maria, Huddle said.

Also arrested was Ruben Anthony Najera, 23, of Santa Maria, who was determined to not be involved in the pursuit, but was wanted on two $25,000 arrest warrants, Huddle said. 

Earlier, authorities had received a report that a man and woman had been seen running in the neighborhood, prompting talks of locking down nearby Oakley Elementary School as a precaution. 

"Investigation revealed that Hendricks and McCloud, after fleeing on foot from the pursuit vehicle, forcibly entered an occupied residence in order to continue their escape," Huddle said. "Hendricks and McCloud were identified by the residents as the suspects who unlawfully entered their house."

Ruben Anthony Najera Click to view larger
Ruben Anthony Najera

Hendricks was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on suspicion of felony evading arrest in a vehicle, being an accessory, and residential burglary, Huddle said.

The vehicle involved in the pursuit was found in an alley near Donovan and Blosser roads.

McCloud remained at large Thursday night, and the Sheriff’s Department was asking that anyone who knows his whereabouts call 9-1-1 immediately.

The Compliance Response Team is a joint effort between the Sheriff’s Department and the county Probation Department.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully 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.

A vehicle, at far right, involved in a high-speed pursuit ended up in an alley near Blosser Road, just south of Donovan Road, in Santa Maria. Click to view larger
A vehicle, at far right, involved in a high-speed pursuit ended up in an alley near Blosser Road, just south of Donovan Road, in Santa Maria. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

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