Sheriff’s Deputy ends chase with gunshots

visalia – A routine traffic stopped turned into a high speed chase and ended with an officer involved shooting last week.
At 10:17 p.m. on April 26, a Sheriff’s deputy attempted to make a traffic stop on a Chevrolet Blazer in the area of Houston Avenue and Santa Fe Street after seeing the vehicle run a stop sign. The SUV did not pull over and a short pursuit ensued, including driving on the wrong side of the road at oncoming traffic. The chase seemingly ended when the Blazer ran a red light and crashed into a vehicle at the corner of Houston and Dinuba Boulevard.
But the Blazer continued northbound on Dinuba Boulevard, ran another red light and hit another vehicle. The deputy then used his vehicle to force the Blazer over onto Sweet Avenue.
“The deputy was concerned with the safety of the public due to the vehicle continuing to evade and endanger public safety,” the Sheriff’s Department said in a released statement. “The deputy exited his vehicle and fired shots toward the suspect vehicle.”
The deputy fired at the SUV in an attempt to disable the tires and the Blazer eventually came to a stop on Sweet Avenue. He arrested the driver, 43-year-old Michelle Routh, and detained Routh’s passenger, a 44-year-old female, whose name was not released as of press time. Routh was booked for felony evading, felony hit and run and driving under the influence of methamphetamine. She is being held without bail.
The adult female passenger was treated at a local hospital for minor injuries and released.
The deputy was also treated at a local hospital for minor injuries and is currently on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
Visalia Police is handling the traffic collision investigations and the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the criminal complaints. Anyone with more information regarding this investigation is urged to contact the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office at 559-733-6218 or anonymously at [email protected] or by text or voicemail at 559-725-4194.

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