Photo: David Ponce
Santa Barbara County – Officers arrested a car thief with a K-9’s help. It started on U.S. 101 southbound in the early evening of September 10th. Buellton area CHP patrol officers spotted what CHP spokesman Officer Jonathan Gutierrez described as “a white Chevy Silverado pickup truck” that had been reported as stolen in Kings County, California.
The observant CHP officers attempted a traffic stop, but the driver failed to yield. Speeds soon reached 100 mph. The suspect driver began passing other traffic on the right shoulder, endangering other motorists.
It was just after 6:00 p.m. when the stolen truck roared off the freeway, exiting at the Mission Street off ramp and veering into busy downtown Santa Barbara traffic . The suspect, ultimately identified as 41-year-old Porterville resident David Ponce, then “sideswiped a van,” at which point he attempted to flee the scene on foot.
SBSD units and Santa Barbara Police Department officers established a secure perimeter around the area and sent an SBSD K9 unit in search of Ponce. Just a few blocks away, officers detained Ponce and took him into custody. During the process of apprehending Ponce, “a CHP officer was bitten by the K9” and suffered minor leg injuries.
Ponce’s multiple charges include:
• Auto theft
• Reckless evading of a police officer
• Driving under the influence of a controlled substance,
• Hit and run
• Driving without a license
Ponce remains in custody on a no-bail hold.
Photo: Courtesy Santa Barbara County Jail Booking