Cops Smash Car Windows to Nab Chase Suspects
Santa Barbara County – In what could have been modern-day action movie crossover version of the John Ritter-Suzanne Sommers 1980’s TV hit show “Three’s Company” and director Ron Howard’s “Grand Theft Auto”, two women and their male companion were arrested on October 17th in the city of Buellton—just a few miles north of Santa Barbara—following a protracted and harrowing car chase.
According to Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department Public Information Officer Kelly Hoover, the action began in the middle of the afternoon at a busy gas station when authorities were alerted to a report of a man “hitting the windows of a black Cherokee Jeep with his fists and armed with a knife.” As SBSD deputies rolled up to the scene, the Jeep was on its way out of the gas station and accelerating toward the southbound U.S. 101 onramp. As the deputies began their pursuit of the Jeep, they became aware that the same vehicle had been involved in a car chase just two weeks earlier over Route 154, a notoriously dangerous mountain highway connecting the Santa Ynez Valley with the City of Santa Barbara.
As deputies initiated their pursuit, the Jeep driver failed to yield to sirens and flashing red lights, at which point “ Santa Barbara County Air Support unit was brought in to assist,” Hoover reported. CHP units also joined the chase, now reaching speeds of more than 100 mph, with the Jeep careening down both right and left freeway shoulders as it sped past other members of the motoring public. This went on for nearly thirty miles, with the Jeep finally exiting the freeway just north of the Santa Barbara city limits, racing down a heavily traveled two-lane road through multiple school zones “with complete disregard for public safety,” as described by Hoover to the media.
Fully a half hour after the chase began, the Jeep veered onto a ranch road, ultimately reaching a dead end created by Sheriff’s vehicles positioned in the Jeep’s path at the direction of the Air Support Unit, whereupon the Jeep slammed into a patrol car and caroming into a tree. Wedged between the tree and the patrol car, the three occupants of the Jeep—Shane Lydick, 34, Kristi DeLaCerna, 36, and Camille DePerna, 24—all refused to exit the vehicle in spite of the fact that they were faced with unholstered service weapons pointed at them.
At that point, deputies “broke several windows out of the vehicle and forcibly removed all three suspects,” whereupon each was placed under arrest. Lydick and DePerena, each suspected of driving the Jeep at various times during the chase–were booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on charges of felony evading with a motor vehicle; all three were charged with possession of burglary tools and are in custody on a no-bail hold.
Photos: Courtesy Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department
Santa Barbara Independent: Three arrested after high speed chase
KCOY: High-speed chase ends in SB
NOOZHAWK: High speed chase ends in crash, 3 arrests