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Woman accused of vandalizing motel, leading deputies on chase, damaging vineyards

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Posted: Tuesday, November 27, 2012 12:59 pm | Updated: 10:10 am, Wed Jan 30, 2013.

Two people are in custody after a wild chase on the outskirts of Lodi ended when a stolen Ford Explorer crashed on Kile Road in the Thornton area and a woman was arrested with the help of a police dog.

The CHP arrested the female driver on suspicion of two counts of drunken driving, vehicle theft, possession of a stolen vehicle, three counts of hit and run, two counts of vandalism, and driving under the influence of a controlled substance. San Joaquin Sheriff's Office deputies also arrested her on suspicion of vandalism and resisting arrest.

The woman gave her age as 29 and her address as Galt. Her identity was still being confirmed by officers Tuesday. A male passenger was also arrested on warrants for second-degree robbery and misdemeanor battery.

Here's what happened, according to both agencies:

  • The woman allegedly vandalized a motel room at Best Western Inn, 6400 W. Banner St., Flag City, at about 11:50 a.m. Monday and led Sheriff's deputies on a chase east on Highway 12, until crossing the Union Pacific Railroad tracks west of DeVries Road. Deputies lost sight of the car.
  • The driver turned north on DeVries Road and crashed into another vehicle near Turner Road at about 12:30 p.m.
  • She then allegedly stole a white Ford Explorer in the DeVries/Turner road area. The 82-year-old woman who owned the Explorer had considered chasing the woman, but the suspect was gone by the time the owner got the keys to her other car, according to Steve Perrin, who lives nearby on Ray Road.
  • A passenger, Manuel Rangel, 35, whose address was not available, was arrested in the DeVries/Turner road area on a no-bail warrant for felony second-degree robbery and misdemeanor battery.
  • The woman drove the stolen SUV without Rangel through a vineyard on Ray Road, causing an estimated $10,000 in damage to the vineyard and some property before rolling into a drainage ditch on Kile Road in the southern end of Thornton.

"She took out 89 vines," said Perrin, who owns a vineyard between Ray and DeVries roads. "She went through 14 rows (of vines)."

She also crashed through a green metal gate, the entrance to Perrin's property on Ray Road.

  • The woman then fled on foot into a residential area of Thornton, where she jumped residents' fences before a Sheriff's patrol dog caught her. She was arrested at about 2:10 p.m. There were no injuries, CHP spokesman James Smith said.

Perrin said that the driver of the stolen SUV probably didn't realize that DeVries dead-ends.

"She tried to cut through the vineyards and 'created' a new road," Perrin said.

Perrin said that the woman also drove through a smaller part of a neighbor's vineyard, but CHP and Sheriff's reports indicate it was only one vineyard.

She is in custody at San Joaquin County Jail in French Camp. Bail has been set at $126,310, with arraignment scheduled for 12:15 p.m. today in San Joaquin County Superior Court in Lodi.

Rangel was arraigned Tuesday at the county courthouse in Stockton.

The case remains under investigation by both law enforcement agencies.

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at rossf@lodinews.com.

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