Man Accused of Recklessly Firing Assault Weapon, Allegedly Struck Motorcyclist with Car During Pursuit
Above: Andrew Diaz booking photo | All photos courtesy of Kings County Sheriff’s Office
A Kings County man was arrested on weapons-related and other charges after allegedly leading deputies on a high-speed pursuit.
The incident began when a patrol deputy in the middle of a traffic stop on the night of Friday, October 23, heard gunshots ring out from the nearby area of Jersey and 16th Avenues in a rural part of the county, according to a Sheriff’s Office press release. The information was broadcast to other units, and another deputy responded to the area in question.
The deputy who responded reportedly caught up to a silver Kia Optima traveling at over 100 miles per hour. The deputy attempted a stop but the driver — later identified as 19-year-old Andrew Diaz — refused to yield, initiating a pursuit.
The pursuit continued northbound on 16th Avenue at high speeds, with Diaz allegedly running several stop signs, running multiple cars off the road, and striking a person riding a motorcycle. The motorcyclist reportedly had to be hospitalized with moderate injuries.
The pursuit eventually reached North Armona Road near Hanford, where it was briefly terminated out of concern for public safety, the Sheriff’s Office said.
After traffic suitably dissipated, the deputy re-engaged Diaz in the pursuit. When the pursuit reached northbound Irwin Street, Diaz reportedly struck the center divider and lost control of the vehicle, bringing the pursuit to an end. Diaz and his passenger, identified as 19-year-old Madison Martinez, tried to run from the vehicle but were quickly apprehended.
Deputies searched the vehicle and confiscated an AR-15 style rifle missing its serial number and three 30-round magazines. Diaz reportedly admitted to firing the gun earlier near Jersey and 16th. Deputies later returned to the area and found spent shell casings, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Diaz was ultimately booked at the Kings County jail on numerous charges including evading a peace officer with wanton disregard for public safety, hit-and-run resulting in death or injuries, illegally possessing an assault weapon, and resisting arrest. His bail was set at $125,000.
Martinez was booked on suspicion of resisting arrest and later released.