Mar 18, 2011 9:14 PM by Ariel Wesler

Man leads officers on wild chase after fatal hit and run

A man led California Highway Patrol officers on a wild chase from Ventura through Santa Barbara County after they say he killed a motorcyclist in a hit and run.

CHP officers and sheriff's deputies say the chase started in Ventura County just north of Del Norte on Highway 101 this morning. Officers finally arrested 23-year-old Michael Johnson in Santa Barbara County, near the El Capitan State Beach off ramp.

The entire pursuit lasted about 50 minutes as CHP officers from Ventura and Santa Barbara worked together to stop the driver.

Officers say Johnson was driving a Ford pickup truck northbound on Highway 101 at more than 100 miles per hour. Ventura CHP officers first tried to stop him using a spike strip near Bates Road in Ventura County. Johnson avoided the spike strip and crossed into Santa Barbara County. So, CHP officers tried again. They laid down another strip north of Goleta, near El Capitan State Beach.

The suspect vehicle attempted to avoid the spike strip, went out of control into the center divider, struck one of our parked patrol vehicles and then careened into a guardrail," said Don Clotworthy with Santa Barbara CHP.

But it didn't end there. Officers say Johnson then jumped out of the truck and ran across the southbound lanes of Highway 101, toward the beach.

A helicopter was dispatched to help locate Johnson and set up a perimeter. Officers caught up with him just after 11:30, tased him, and arrested him.

Johnson and a CHP Officer were both treated for minor injuries at Cottage hospital. The CHP says Johnson was under the influence of drugs. Authorities say Johnson will be tried in Ventura county, where he faces a long list of charges.

Authorities have not released the name of the motorcyclist killed. One lane of northbound Highway 101 near El Capitan State Beach was closed for a couple hours as officers cleared the scene.


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