Photo: Stock Image
While U.S. 101 may provide some of the nation’s most scenic travel, it’s frequently the route used by criminals in their poorly-conceived efforts to escape cops who may be on their tail.
Evidence of that came once again on the morning of October 11th , when, according to California Highway Patrol Coastal Division spokesman Officer Danny Maher, CHP Officer Larson, clearly observant in his patrol unit as he cruised through Santa Maria, spotted “a vehicle that matched the description of a reported stolen vehicle.” It only took a few moments of radio contact with Central Coast CHP Dispatch for Larson to confirm the identity and status.
That’s when Larson “activated his emergency lights” in an attempt bring the suspect vehicle to a halt. But alas, the driver of the Kia Rio ahead of him failed to yield to the visible demand by law enforcement to yield, and the chase was on. As the Kia accelerated away, it traveled up the Broadway Avenue onramp and onto U.S. 101 northbound. Shortly thereafter, the suspect vehicle exited the freeway in the City of Nipomo, careening down Willow Road at a high rate of speed and blowing through “several stop signs in the area.”
When the suspect vehicle veered onto a dirt road and slid onto the soft dirt shoulder, it came to a halt, whereupon Officer Larson made contact with 41-year-old Santa Maria resident Vincent Romero. As Romero was cuffed and taken into custody, the passenger in his car called 911 Dispatch to indicate that Romero was racing to Lompoc to “check on his mom.”
Romero was transported to Santa Barbara County Jail to face multiple motor vehicle charges while Lompoc Police Department officers were dispatched to conduct a welfare check on the mother in question.