Fleeing pickup crosses border twice, ends in arrest
A high-speed chase that lasted more than an hour and crossed the state line twice ended with the arrest of a man and a woman Thursday afternoon.
A 10-year-old who was a passenger in the fleeing Toyota Tacoma pickup truck was taken into Child Protective Services in South Lake Tahoe.
The driver, David Shipp, 38, and passenger, Wanda Johnson, 29, were arrested by the California Highway Patrol at Monitor Pass after being chased by several law enforcement agencies said Tim Breza, a CHP spokesman. Both are in custody at the El Dorado County Jail in South Lake Tahoe.
Shipp, who was driving the pickup packed with camping gear in its bed, hit speeds in excess of 100 mph and evaded police through winding roads, construction zones and residential neighborhoods with children playing outside. At one point the driver crashed through a cattle fence and made his way on a dirt road. Law enforcement agencies tried to stop the truck with spikes, but the driver evaded their efforts by swerving onto side streets.
The saga began at the Staples in South Lake Tahoe, where Shipp allegedly stole a digital camera and attempted to run someone over with his truck in the parking lot. Staples officials declined to comment.
The South Lake Tahoe Police Department charged Shipp with theft and assault with a deadly weapon. The CHP charged the couple with a felony evading arrest and child endangerment.
The chase began in Meyers at 1:07 p.m. when the Toyota was spotted by El Dorado County Deputy Sheriff Tim Mazzoni, who chased the suspect over Luther Pass and through Picketts Junction. While fishermen looked on, the suspect hit speeds of 80 mph, Mazzoni said.
Dan Duran, a South Lake Tahoe resident, was driving toward Luther Pass on U.S. Highway 395 near Douglas County High School when he saw the chase.
“This guy was flying and there were 12 to 15 patrol cars behind him, their lights flashing and sirens blaring,” he said.
CHP took over the chase up the narrow Woodfords Canyon, racing by campers and pedestrians along the road. The driver hit speeds of 90 mph on the flats before crossing the state line into Nevada on State Route 88. The driver went as far as the Ranchos area in Gardnerville before heading back to California.
The chase engaged officers from El Dorado, Alpine, Mono and Washoe counties, CHP and Nevada Highway Patrol which all communicated as the driver crossed state and county borders.
Driving on a dirt road for two miles, Shipp crashed into a grove of aspen trees at 2:50 p.m. Apparently he was attempting to drive through the trees, said CHP Lt. Marty Whited. Shipp, Johnson and their daughter fled on foot and were arrested 25 minutes later.
Shipp had an Arizona driver’s license and Johnson a Montana identification card. The truck had New Mexico plates. CHP is unsure of where the couple is from or if the truck was stolen, officer Breza said. CHP and SLTPD are conducting a joint investigation.