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CHP: Wrong-way driver arrested following long, low-speed pursuit though SLO Co.

Arrest (FILE)
Posted at 4:07 PM, Aug 28, 2023

A wrong-way driver was arrested after leading officers on a low-speed pursuit through San Luis Obispo County over the weekend, according to the California Highway Patrol.

CHP says an officer was heading southbound on Highway 101 near the top of the Cuesta Grade Saturday around 10:35 p.m. when he noticed what was described as a “three-axel flatbed truck” driving the wrong way.

The officer continued on, turning around at Monterey Street for a traffic break and to try to stop the wrong-way driver, according to a CHP news release, which states the driver continued the wrong way before turning around to drive the correct way at the bottom of the grade.

CHP says officers tried to get the suspect, identified as Antonio Vega Torres Jr., 43, from Lompoc, to stop but he continued driving, resulting in a pursuit that officers say only reached a max speed of 10 miles per hour.

The news release states Torres turned around at Laetitia Vineyard near Arroyo Grande and headed northbound on the highway again, eventually stopping near Spyglass Drive due to the damaged front tires from spike strips that had previously been deployed.

However, CHP states Torres would not exit the vehicle. Officers reportedly used pepper spray inside the cab, causing Torres to come out, according to the news release, which states, “the suspect exited the vehicle with pruning shears in hand and was not complying with officers commands.”

A taser was used to take Torres into custody, according to CHP.

Officers say he’s suspected of being under the influence of a drug and following the approximately 2 hour and 45-minute pursuit, it was determined the truck was stolen.

Torres was booked into the San Luis Obispo County Jail. Jail logs did not show him in custody as of late Monday afternoon.