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.
Never miss a local story.
Gomes was booked on suspicion of auto theft, resisting arrest, and burglary.