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A man was arrested Thursday night after a two-county chase that started at Golf Links Road in the Jamestown area and ended in a vineyard in the Murphys area.

It started at 9:12 p.m. when a deputy attempted to pull over the driver of a vehicle with a cracked windshield, Lt. David Vasquez with the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office said.

The driver kept on driving, Vasquez said. A deputy checked the vehicle’s license plates and learned the plates corresponded to a different vehicle, and the license plates were confirmed stolen, Vasquez said.

During the chase, the driver drove on Parrotts Ferry Road at speeds exceeding 75 miles per hour, drove on the wrong side of the road, and he blew through three stop signs without stopping, Vasquez said. The driver at one point drove toward an oncoming vehicle, but did not cause a collision, Vasquez said.

Law enforcement chasing the fleeing driver included three Tuolumne County sheriff’s deputies and CHP San Andreas personnel in Calaveras County.

In Calaveras County, the vehicle ran out of gas, broke down or caught a flat. The driver ran into a vineyard near Highway 4, Vasquez said. Officers on the scene Thursday night said the vehicle stopped because the driver drove onto a dead-end road. The chase ended at 10:05 p.m.

California Highway Patrol personnel based in San Andreas and Calaveras County sheriff’s deputies helped at the end of the pursuit, Vasquez said.

Personnel with CHP San Andreas provided no information about the chase, other than to confirm they assisted at the scene after the pursuit was over. Sgt. Greg Stark with the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office said three subjects were taken into custody. 

Austin Lee Wilson was the only individual arrested, on suspicion of evading with disregard, possession of stolen property, possession of paraphernalia, possession of a stolen vehicle, a defective windshield violation, and driving with a suspended or revoked license. Wilson was released on $0 bail, Vasquez said. 

A state-mandated zero-dollar bail order in effect for many offenders right now is intended to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in lockup facilities, and it is proving unpopular with law enforcement agencies in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties.

The names of two others in the vehicle could not be confirmed. On the scanner Thursday night they were identified as two women, who were held at gunpoint by officers as the driver ran away. No property damage or injuries were reported.


Contact Guy McCarthy at gmccarthy@uniondemocrat.com or 770-0405. Follow him on Twitter at @GuyMcCarthy.


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