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December 6, 2022

Suspect leads police on chase through Gilroy, Watsonville

A Watsonville man is in custody on a host of charges after he allegedly tried to outrun police in two counties on Nov. 4.

California Highway Patrol Officer Alyssa Gutierrez said CHP officers initially tried to pull Francisco De Los Santos, 31, of Watsonville over for unsafe driving on Highway 129 at Murphy Road around 9:20pm. in a black Honda Civic. He failed to yield to lights and sirens as he raced into the City of Watsonville. That’s when the CHP terminated their pursuit for safety reasons, Gutierrez said.

A short while later the CHP spotted the black Honda again on East Lake Avenue near Holohan Road just east of Watsonville where they picked up the pursuit again. De Los Santos charged over the curving and hilly Highway 152 at speeds between 45 and 55 mph and turned onto Watsonville Road toward Morgan Hill.

Near Monterey Road, CHP officers of the Gilroy division deployed a spike strip to flatten the Honda’s tires, but De Los Santos dodged the strip. He then continued onto Monterey Road south and into Gilroy with several CHP officers trailing him.

The Honda worked its way onto southbound Highway 101, at times reaching speeds of 105 mph toward Salinas, but the CHP managed to stop his efforts with another spike strip which disabled his car on Highway 101, Gutierrez said.

When the CHP took De Los Santos back to Santa Cruz County Jail, at one point, while handcuffed, he head-butted two CHP officers, causing minor injuries, according to Guiterrez.

He was booked into Santa Cruz County Jail on felony evading police, felony battery, resisting arrest, DUI and driving with a suspended license.

Tarmo Hannula
Tarmo Hannula has been the lead photographer with The Pajaronian newspaper in Watsonville since 1997. He also reports on a wide range of topics, including police, fire, environment, schools, the arts and events. A fifth generation Californian, Tarmo was born in the Mother Lode of the Sierra (Columbia) and has lived in Santa Cruz County since the late 1970s. He earned a BA from UC Santa Cruz and has traveled to 33 countries.

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