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Ventura man arrested following chase through Santa Barbara County

Posted at 7:43 PM, Mar 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-07 22:43:27-05

A Ventura man was arrested Wednesday following a chase from Ventura County to Goleta.

Ventura Police first started chasing the driver of a pickup truck hauling a small U-Haul trailer on Wednesday night. They say the driver had been involved in a domestic disturbance in their area.

Police stopped pursuing the driver as he continued onto northbound Highway 101 near the Santa Barbara County line.

Around 8:45 p.m., a Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s deputy began following the driver. The deputy says the driver was making sudden lane changes and appeared to intentionally drive toward other cars on the highway.

A second deputy also began following. The deputies tried to stop the driver on northbound 101 near Summerland, but the driver ignored emergency lights and sirens and continued northbound.

Deputies say he kept making abrupt lane changes, veering side to side, and intentionally driving toward cars. Deputies say it almost appeared as if the driver was trying to make the trailer he was hauling come off the hitch.

Deputies chased the driver through Summerland, Montecito, Santa Barbara, and Goleta.

The CHP also assisted by deploying a spike strip on 101 near Winchester Canyon.

Santa Barbara county chase
A photo shows the shredded front tires of a pickup truck following a chase. (Photo Courtesy: Santa Barbara County Sheriffs Office)


The driver continued even after hitting the spike strip and shredding the truck’s front tires. Eventually the truck came to a stop on Highway 101 near Dos Pueblos Canyon.

Deputies told the driver to get out of the car, but they say he refused. Investigators say he also made threats, claiming he was armed and would hurt deputies.

He was eventually taken into custody with help from a Sheriff’s K-9 team.

The sheriff’s office identified the suspect as Christopher Todd Franchi, 52, of Ventura.

Christopher Todd Franchi
Christopher Todd Franchi


He was booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail and could face charges of criminal threats, assault with a deadly weapon, recklessly evading an officer, resisting arrest, and driving with a suspended license due to a DUI.

Bail is set at $75,000