HUNTINGTON BEACH — An erratic driver who took an off-road detour through Surf City’s Central Park led police on a wild Saturday morning pursuit, driving on the wrong side of the road and ramming a police car before fleeing into a neighborhood on foot.
Gerardo Flores, 30, of Montebello, was taken into custody after police found him hiding in a residential garage following the chase. Flores faces several charges, including possession of a loaded firearm, assault with a deadly weapon, evading police officers, burglary, multiple hit and run charges, possession of a controlled substance (suspected to be the drug Ecstasy) and vandalism, according to a Huntington Beach police report.
The March 19 incident began about 10:09 a.m. when police received several 911 calls reporting a reckless driver speeding east on Warner Avenue from Bolsa Chica Street. The suspect was described as a Hispanic male with a bald head driving a new black Toyota Camry with paper plates.
Police caught up with the suspect on Varsity Drive after he had reportedly driven through the walking paths and grassy areas of Central Park. In an attempt to evade the police pursuit, the suspect accelerated to high speeds on the wrong side of the road then rammed a police cruiser that was attempting to block his path at Springdale Street and Rosemont. The suspect then escaped east on Warner while almost causing several collisions.
After several blocks, the suspect turned south on Newland, eventually exiting the road and driving into a residential greenbelt area where he lost control of the Camry and careened into a wall. The suspect fled the crash scene on foot, entering a neighborhood in the 18300 block of Gumtree Lane, where he broke windows as he attempted to enter several homes.
Fountain Valley police joined to assist in the chase, setting a perimeter around the area, and Huntington Beach police were able to corner the suspect, Flores, as he hid in an unlocked garage. Flores was wearing a “moto-cross off road motorcycle outfit including a metal vest plate under his leather jacket,” said the report.
Flores was arrested at the scene and booked into the Huntington Beach Police Department city jail.