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Sheriff's vehicle
A San Diego Sheriff’s vehicle. Photo by Alexander Nguyen

 A 41-year-old man led police on a vehicle pursuit Wednesday morning that began in San Diego County and ended on foot in Orange County.

Just before 4:30 a.m. on Wednesday, deputies from the North Coastal Sheriff’s Station’s Crime Suppression Team attempted to stop the driver of a red Dodge Charger near Encinitas Boulevard and Seeman Drive believed to have been involved in recent catalytic converter thefts in the region, according to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.

The driver, Erik Rivera, 41, failed to yield when asked to pull over and a pursuit ensued, according to authorities.

During the pursuit, the vehicle ran over several mailboxes on Seeman Drive and continued onto northbound Interstate 5, the Sheriff’s Department reported.

Deputies followed the vehicle into the City of San Clemente and were relieved by California Highway Patrol officers who continued pursuing Rivera into Orange County, according to authorities.

CHP Officers successfully deployed a tire deflation device and the vehicle stopped near the Highway 73 and La Paz Road off-ramp, according to the Sheriff’s Department.

Rivera and the front passenger ran out of the vehicle while the passengers in the rear seats, 41-year-old Rufino Garcia and 45-year-old Francisco Perez, were detained immediately, according to authorities.

During a search of the area, Rivera was located and arrested, according to police.

The front passenger who left the vehicle was able to escape, according to the Sheriff’s Department.

Two catalytic converters and numerous tools were found in the vehicle, authorities reported.

Rivera, Garcia and Perez, residents of Los Angeles County, were booked into the Vista Detention Facility  on numerous charges, including felony evading, possession of stolen property and possession of burglary tools, according to authorities.

Detectives from the North Coastal Sheriff’s Station are handling the investigation.

If you have any information regarding the incident or this investigation, call the Sheriff’s Department at 858-565-5200.

— City News Service

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Ellen Bullock