Police arrested Ray Gallegos, 31, for driving with willful
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The man who led police on a high-speed chase through fields and
construction sites Friday afternoon was arrested about an hour
after officers called off the dangerous pursuit to protect
civilians.
The man who led police on a high-speed chase through fields and construction sites Friday afternoon was arrested about an hour after officers called off the dangerous pursuit to protect civilians.

About 11:30 a.m. Friday, an officer noticed Ray Gallegos, 31, driving a red Honda Civic matching the description of a stolen vehicle. The front license plate came back stolen and the rear had no match, so the officer attempted to pull Gallegos over near Kern and Tatum avenues in northwest Gilroy. Gallegos took off north Kern Avenue, and where the road dead-ended, Gallegos crossed onto a dirt road. He then took this up to Day Road before entering a construction zone to cross over onto Santa Teresa Boulevard.

Once on pavement, the Watsonville man reached speeds up to 90 mph as he bobbed throughout traffic, passing vehicles so perilously that oncoming motorist swerved to avoid collisions, Sgt. Jim Gillio said. To avoid injury, police ended the pursuit about 1.5 miles later near Santa Teresa Boulevard and Fitzgerald Avenue.

As officers fell back, Gallegos continued and eventually ditched the still-running car 3.5 miles later outside a home on Creekside Court in southwest Morgan Hill. Witnesses reported him coming to a screeching halt before fleeing on foot. A neighbor reported the suspicious circumstances to police, who arrived minutes later with shotguns drawn.

Residents pointed officers toward an open garage attached to a Creekside Court home, but police were unable to locate the suspect in the area. Officers did discover burglary tools in the Honda, the vehicle identification number of which had been altered, Gillio said.

About 25 minutes later, police caught a break when a motorist on Santa Teresa Boulevard called 911 to report a man matching the suspect’s description walking on the side of the road near Fitzgerald Avenue, Gillio said. The caller said the man got into the passenger side of a vehicle that pulled over next to him.

Officers quickly descended on the car and identified the passenger as Gallegos after the vehicle pulled over, Gillio said. It was unclear if the driver of the unknown vehicle knew Gallegos or picked him up assuming he was a hitchhiker. Police did not arrest anyone else in connection with this incident, according to arrest logs.

Police charged Gallegos, who was on parole at the time of the chase for a previous felony pursuit, with driving with willful disregard of safety, driving or taking a vehicle without the owner’s permission, parole hold, altering a vehicle identification number, and possession of burglary tools.

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