Car Heist and Chase Leads To Arrest

Richard Hernandez, Suspect


On Friday May 14th, at approximately 6:30 PM Coalinga Police Officers responded to a report of a possible vehicle theft in progress at the Coalinga Motel, in the 600 block of Polk. Upon officers’ arrival they observed the reported vehicle in the alley behind the Coalinga Motel.  The vehicle fled the scene, traveling eastbound on Polk at a high rate of speed. Officers attempted to pull the vehicle over, but the vehicle failed to pull over, traveling eastbound on Polk, leaving town.

 The suspect, later identified as Coalinga resident Richard Hernandez, continued to flee, at times reaching speeds over 90 mph while traveling in oncoming traffic lanes.
As Hernandez continued to flee, he continued driving erratically, failing to stop at several “STOP” signs.  When Hernandez reached the intersection of Nevada Avenue and State Route 41, he failed to stop at the “STOP” sign. He then lost control of the vehicle and drove off the road, coming to a stop before colliding with a fence.  

A Coalinga Police Department officer that was following Hernandez, lost visual of Hernandez’ vehicle due to a large amount of dust created when Hernandez drove off the road, fleeing on foot. That officer tried to slow down, but ended up driving into an empty canal, causing the officer’s vehicle to flip several times.  The officer was able to free himself from his seatbelt, escape the overturned vehicle and continue to chase Hernandez on foot. Hernandez was quickly apprehended by officers, including the officer who crashed, and K-9 Eli.

Hernandez was arrested and taken to the Coalinga Regional Medical Center where he refused to be treated for his injuries and was uncooperative with hospital staff.  He was later transported to the Fresno County Jail for charges of Violation of Parole, Felony Evading, Resisting Arrest, Threating an Officer, Battery to a Police Canine, Robbery, Vehicle Theft and DUI.
The officer was treated for his injuries at Adventist Health in Hanford and later released.