H-SANTA MARGARITA

Mar 17, 2011 9:31 PM by Ariel Wesler

Man killed in police pursuit was part of prominent local family

The driver killed this morning after crashing his car on Highway 58 during a police pursuit was the son of a prominent businessman.

Pismo Beach Police say 32-year-old Jeffrey Filipponi of Santa Margarita led them on a deadly high-speed chase just before 4 a.m. Thursday morning.

Friends say Jeff Filipponi was part of the Filipponi family who owns part of the Santa Margarita Ranch and operates the Ancient Peaks Winery in Santa Margarita. Jeff was also facing four years in prison.

The police pursuit started in Pismo Beach after officers found out Filipponi was driving with a stolen registration. When officers got out of the car, Jeff took off. Officers say Filipponi drove Northbound on Highway 101, reaching speeds of more than 100 miles an hour.

At one point, he got off the highway in San Luis Obispo, hit a Grover Beach police car, let off a passenger, and got back on the highway.

"There's a lot of factors that the officers are going over whether to terminate or initiate a pursuit. At this time, the weather was fine. There was little to no traffic on the roadways and the officer continued the pursuit," said Commander Jake Miller with the Pismo Beach Police Department.

Filipponi eventually tried to exit on Highway 58 and flipped his car. He was pronounced dead at the scene. No other injuries or damages were reported.

Pismo Beach police are still investigating and looking for the second passenger.

We tried to contact the Filipponi family, but they would not comment on the situation.

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