High-speed chase ends in Winters

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A 100-mph car chase ended on Putah Creek Road directly due to the Winters Police Department’s assistance.

The late-night, high-speed chase began in the City of Chico and ended up on Interstate 505 on Sept. 1, leaving local law enforcement a matter of minutes to act. After the California Highway Patrol started to chase the suspect on the rural freeway, they contacted the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office and Winters Police Department. The chase led right into Winters, where it ended abruptly.

“Our team had enough time to deploy a spike strip at Putah Creek Road, successfully disabling the vehicle and helping to catch the occupants who took off into the orchards.” Police Chief John P. Miller said.

Winters’ police cars carry spike strips; some encased in plastic and others in razor-sharp tubes that require wearing leather gloves to deploy.

“Spike strips are standard but inherently dangerous, especially when the suspect vehicle is traveling at high rates of speed,” Miller said, noting the recent death of an officer from Illinois killed when deploying the apparatus.  

Working closely with and sharing a radio channel with Yolo County Sheriff’s Department enables Winters to be in the know. In addition, Miller said the agencies work hand-in-hand with high-speed chases to significant scale events, which creates capacity and reduces cost.

“We are pretty active for a small agency regionally,” Miller said of the 11 full-time sworn-in Winters Police Department officers.” “We are very well equipped for a small police department and deploy many resources for our size, which speaks highly of our officers.”

It’s a reciprocal relationship, according to the police chief, saying when Winters needs the resources, “we have already anted up, and agencies are much more willing to help us.”

Bottom-line, high-speed chases weigh risks and benefits while considering speed, weather, traffic, and pedestrian safety. Not to mention the continued danger to officers until apprehending any suspect who fled from a high chase. 

After the spike strips disabled the vehicle, the Winters Police assisted in holding the area perimeter while Yolo County officers searched for the suspect. During the chase, another car was disabled in the mayhem, according to the police chief, who said the motorists traveling from Oregon to Fremont found themselves stranded in Winters.

“Our officers brought them to Winters Hotel, who offered us a nice discount to put them up for the evening,” he said of the middle of the night check-in. “They weren’t expecting to spend the night in Winters and shared in the morning that they have an exciting story to tell.”

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