CARPINTERIA — The sunset-hour commute through this quiet beach town became dangerous on Carpinteria’s crowded stretch of northbound Highway 101 Thursday and finally led to the capture of two adults and three juveniles from the Oxnard area.
It all began when CHP Officer Javier Garcia was monitoring the flow of northbound traffic with his handheld Light Detection and Ranging device. Then, from out of the heavy traffic flow, a Ford Expedition came toward him at speeds in excess of 100 mph. Exiting at Santa Monica Road, the vehicle careened into a nearby gas station parking lot. At that point, the five occupants of the Expedition alighted and took off on foot. Officer Garcia immediately radioed for assistance and called for air support.
The suspects split off running in several directions, scattering through a local motel and residential area. Santa Barbara County Senior Deputy Sheriff Messmore and others arrived with K-9 units and, with the help of local witnesses and a Santa Barbara Sheriffs Air Unit, quickly located the suspects.
Arrested at the scene and subsequently booked on a wide range of grand theft and vehicular violations were Jesus Hernandez and Jose Serafin Mendoza Suarez, both of Oxnard, as well as their three fleet-footed juvenile accomplices.