A motorist was arrested at gunpoint in Santa Barbara Thursday afternoon after being pursued by a sheriff’s sergeant from Carpinteria, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.
The driver of the Ford F-150 pick-up finally pulled over on Mission Street at about 2:30 p.m. and was taken into custody without incident, said sheriff’s Sgt. Mark Williams.
The pursuit began shortly after 2 p.m. in Carpinteria, after the sergeant witnessed a road-rage incident involving the pickup and another vehicle, Williams said.
The sergeant determined that the pickup driver, identified as Donald Angel Espinosa, 41, of Oxnard, was the aggressor, Williams said, and attempted to make a traffic stop.
However, Espinosa refused to yield, and headed north on Highway 101, traveling 55-60 mph, Williams said.
Espinosa exited the freeway at Mission Street, and headed north toward the mountains, pulling over near Bath Street.
At that point, he threw his keys out the window and was taken into custody at gunpoint, along with a male passenger, Williams said.
Traffic on Mission Street was shut down for a few minutes while the driver was detained.
Espinosa was arrested on an outstanding warrant out of Ventura County, Williams said, and also was charged with failure to yield to a police officer, possession of a controlled substance, possession of marijuana in a vehicle, and driving on a suspended license.
He was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail, with bail set at $95,000.
The male passenger was detained, but was not initially arrested.
Nearby, some bystanders wondered aloud why police used such force and manpower — more than half a dozen police units — to apprehend the driver.
Williams said authorities always use caution when a suspect continues to flee for unknown reasons.
“Anytime somebody doesn’t stop, our suspicions go up,” he said.
Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff reported from the scene.