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Local News

Suspects Lead Police on Two High-Speed Chases

One suspect is arrested on charges including DUI, and another remains at-large in the Lompoc area

Suspects led law enforcement officers on two high-speed chases Sunday, with one suspect still at large in the Lompoc area.

The first incident occurred about 1:45 p.m. Sunday, when a California Highway Patrol officer attempted to stop a vehicle for speeding on northbound Highway 101 just north of Ventura in Ventura County, according to CHP officer Steve Reid.

That vehicle, driven by John Ramirez, 40, of Santa Barbara, failed to stop and began a highway chase through Ventura and Santa Barbara, reaching speeds exceeding 90 mph, Reid said.

“At one point, the suspect actually struck a CHP vehicle,” Reid said, noting that a cruiser was rear-ended.

Ramirez eventually pulled over just south of the Gaviota tunnels near the rest stop, at which time he was arrested on suspicion of DUI, evading arrest and speeding.

Reid said Ramirez, who will face charges where the pursuit began in Ventura County, also had a number of outstanding warrants and caused the northbound highway lanes to be closed for a short period while he was apprehended.

The second high-speed chase began around 5:30 p.m. Sunday, when a Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputy tried to pull over a car on Harris Grade Road near Lompoc that matched the description of a stolen vehicle from Santa Maria, according to Kelly Hoover, Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman.

She said the deputy was forced to end the pursuit for public safety reasons when the vehicle entered the Mission Hills residential neighborhood.

Hoover said the suspect drove his car over an embankment at Villa Orilla south of Rucker Road and fled on foot. A K-9 unit and Santa Barbara County Air Support Unit Copter 3 were brought in to help deputies search for the suspect, who still had not been located Monday.

Lompoc Police Department and CHP officers also assisted in searching for the suspect, who Hoover said was reportedly seen by a number of residents in the area of Calle Lindero.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff 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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