By: Amy Larson, KSBW.com
Fatal Watsonville crash SOURCE: KSBW / Amy Larson
WATSONVILLE, Calif. —
A Watsonville police chase was terminated on Highway 1 just seconds before a fatal crash unfolded Friday night.
A 26-year-old Watsonville man was ejected from his Lexus and died at the crash scene on Highway 1, near Jensen Road. His passenger, a 30-year-old Watsonville man, suffered major injuries and was trapped inside the mangled Lexus until firefighters were able to pry him out.
The incident began at 10 p.m., when Watsonville Police Department Officer Javier Ayala attempted to pull the Lexus over because the driver was speeding on West Beach Street near Ohlone Parkway. The Lexus driver accelerated onto Highway 1.
“The driver of the Lexus accelerated quickly and drove erratically while many objects were thrown onto the highway,” Sgt. Michael Ridgway said.
The driver tossed a handgun and assault rifle onto Highway 1 while driving southbound.
“As speeds exceeded 100 mph, Officer Ayala terminated the pursuit, due to public safety concerns, at Salinas Road,” Ridgway said.
The police pursuit was terminated on Highway 1 near Salinas Road.
Seconds later, the Lexus caught up to a Chevrolet pickup truck that was also traveling southbound.
“The Lexus attempted to avoid colliding into the rear of the Chevrolet by abruptly applying the brakes and turning left,” the California Highway Patrol said.
The Lexus rolled, and the driver was ejected into a farm field. The Chevrolet driver was not injured. The deadly crash happened on Highway 1 near Jensen Road, between Moss Landing and Watsonville.
Multiple witnesses said a police officer approached the wrecked, smoking Lexus with his gun drawn. The body was found in a farm field, on the other side of an embankment.
A long stretch of Highway 1 was shut down for several hours while Watsonville police, Monterey County Sheriff’s deputies, and CHP officers collected evidence from the highway. Drivers were forced to turn around and leave the area.
As of Monday morning, the Lexus driver’s name had not been released.
No arrests were made.
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