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Suspect fleeing from police in stolen vehicle crashes on the I-15 freeway in Victorville

VICTORVILLE, Calif. (VVNG.com) — A suspect fleeing from police in a stolen vehicle lost control as he entered the 15 freeway in Victorville and crashed.

On March 21, 2023, at about 3:06 pm, deputies located a stolen vehicle at the Berri Brothers gas station located on Palmdale Road and Park Avenue.

“When deputies attempted to contact the driver outside the vehicle, the suspect was uncooperative, got back in the stolen vehicle, rammed the patrol car, and sped off at a high rate of speed,” stated sheriff’s spokeswoman Gloria Huerta.

stolen vehicle pursuit ends in crash on 15 freeway
(Front-end damage to the unmarked patrol unit near the entrance of the Berri Brothers gas station. — Hugo Valdez, VVNG.com)

The vehicle, a gold-colored 2006 Jeep Commander Limited entered the southbound I-15 freeway at the Palmdale Road onramp.

Huerta said deputies who were attempting to catch up to the suspect saw the vehicle rolling on the 15 freeway south.  

Victorville City Fire responded to the freeway crash and reported the driver was pinned underneath the vehicle. Firefighters used extrication tools to remove the male and requested a helicopter.

stolen vehicle pursuit ends in crash on 15 freeway
(Mercy Air coming in for the landing on the southbound I-15 freeway, just south of the scene. — Hugo Valdez)

A Mercy Air helicopter landed on the 15 freeway and subsequently airlifted him to a trauma center. He remains hospitalized in critical but stable condition.

A portion of the gas station parking lot and the Holiday Inn next door were blocked off with crime scene tape. Several deputies were seen walking the area and gathering evidence that was placed into a brown paper bag.

stolen vehicle pursuit ends in crash on 15 freeway
(The mangled Jeep came to a stop against the center divider of the I-15 freeway at the Palmdale Road onramp. — Hugo Valdez)

The suspect later identified as Paul Thomas, 55, a resident of San Bernardino, was found to be a parolee at large, considered armed and dangerous, with a felony no bail warrant issued by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Officials said will be charged with possession of a stolen vehicle, vandalism, and assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer. 

The incident prompted a temporary closure of the southbound I-15 that lasted until about 7:30 pm and resulted in a traffic jam.

Anyone with information about this investigation is urged to contact the Victorville Police Department at (760) 241-2911 or Sheriff’s Dispatch at (760) 956-5001. Callers wishing to remain anonymous are urged to call the We-Tip Hotline at 1-800-78CRIME (27463) or leave information on the We-Tip website at www.wetip.com.

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