Car chase for wanted felon leads to crash, student left with smashed car

Police chase ends in wreck

Police engaged in a vehicle chase in pursuit of a Gilroy man with a $100,000 warrant at 3:30 a.m. on Tuesday, which ended in a car crash that smashed a parked vehicle on Gaunt Avenue.

George Gallegos, 39 of Gilroy, was arrested for evading arrest, for being a parolee at large, for driving without a license, and for the outstanding warrant, according to Police Sgt. Pedro Espinoza. 

The owner of the parked car, 24-year-old Alyssa Gonzales, was sleeping when she heard sirens outside her apartment near Welburn Avenue.

Her 2011 Honda Civic sustained damages to the door and a broken windshield. 

“There is still glass all over,” Gonzales said. “It’s pretty bad.”

Tuesday afternoon, Gonzales headed to the Gilroy Police Department to find out what they plan to do about fixing her car.

“They told me they can’t do anything right now until they finish their investigation in four to six weeks,” she said. 

The police department told her that the suspect is usually responsible for the damage to other cars during a chase, and that to seek damages, she would have to file a formal claim with the City.

“I’m a full-time student, I don’t know how I’ll get around without my car,” she said. “I hope they can at least meet me halfway and help me with a rental car or something.”

Police Sgt. Pedro Espinoza did not know how fast the vehicles were moving when the police car rammed into Gallegos’ car in a police tactic known as a “pit maneuver,” which sent Gallegos’ car slamming into Gonzales’ car. 

“Ultimately the suspect is responsible for that type of damage, but she could submit a claim to the City,” Espinoza said.

LeeAnn McPhillips, Gilroy’s human resource director, said in these types of situations, the City works with their insurance pool to evaluate the claim and possible liability. Sometimes, she said, the City will seek restitution through the courts from the suspect. 

Meanwhile, Gonzales can work with her insurance company for quicker repairs before being reimbursed by the City.

“First, we obtain all of the facts and circumstances of the situation in order to complete our evaluation. If the outcome of the evaluation is that the city has liability, then our claims examiner will work with the claimant to settle the claim,” McPhillips said. 

Gonzales, who attends night school at Gavilan College and works two jobs during the day, says she plans to ride her bike to work and school until her car is fixed.

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