A suspected car thief led officers on a high-speed chase in Visalia on Tuesday before crashing the vehicle and breaking into a nearby home to hide, police said.
Visalia police Sgt. Damon Maurice said that investigators with the Tulare County Regional Auto Theft Task Force (T-RATT) found a stolen Toyota truck parked in the 600 block of South Church Street. They attempted to speak to the driver, identified as 32-year-old Donnie Lee Gomes, but he drove off at a high speed. Gomes led police on a short chase before hitting a parked car and smashing into a tree, Maurice said.
Maurice said that Gomes fled into a home after the chase. Visalia police surrounded the neighborhood, and nearby Washington Elementary School was placed on lockdown for around 20 minutes while officers searched for Gomes.
A homeowner found Gomes, who left the house and was arrested, Maurice said. Police aren’t sure how he entered the home.
Gomes was booked on suspicion of auto theft, resisting arrest, and burglary.