Law enforcement engage in car chase that begins at J.J. Cairns H.S. in Lindsay, continues through Strathmore, then ends in rollover crash in Porterville
PORTERVILLE – Local law enforcement had their hands full last Tuesday afternoon when they chased down three gang members through three different communities. The chase that began in Lindsay, went through Strathmore and ended in Porterville when the car crashed and rolled over on Plano and Olive streets. As a result two of the gang members died and another one was injured and arrested.
According to Lindsay and Porterville police logs, Lindsay PD received reports from administrators at J.J. Cairns High School about suspicious gang members. One of them was in possession of a knife and asked where he could find one of the students on campus. After Lindsay police officers responded they attempted to make contact with a maroon 2015 Nissan Altima which was parked near the school with Alexia Gonzalez, 23, who was driving and Jose Sanchez, 33, and Ray Perez, 32, who were passengers.
Gonzalez drove away and nearly hit one of the officers. Lindsay officers drove after them while requesting help from the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office and California Highway Patrol. During the pursuit the passengers in the Altima threw a beer bottle and other items out of the car. After getting through Strathmore and then entering the city limits of Porterville law enforcement made the decision to stop for public safety reasons.
According to the Porterville police report, calls were received of a rollover traffic accident with multiple ejections. Lindsay police officers, sheriff’s deputies, CHP and Porterville Police and Fire Department along with multiple ambulances responded. The report says the car struck another vehicle and then a traffic light pole. Gonzalez was pronounced deceased at the scene. Sanchez, of Strathmore, was transported to Sierra View District Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.
Perez, of Lindsay, attempted to flee the scene but was taken into custody by a private citizen and a Tulare County Sheriff’s deputy. According to the Porterville police report Perez was transported to an area hospital and is listed in stable condition.
The incident is being investigated by the Porterville Police Department. Anyone with information on this incident may contact Sgt. Ryan Heinks at 559-562-2511.