Clovis News

High-speed chase ends in NW Fresno crash

12:30 p.m. A man Clovis police say was involved in a multiple car collision Thursday while fleeing officers after an armed robbery was booked on three counts of armed robbery today. Scott Wheeler, 48, also faces charges of assault on a peace officer, felony evading and obstructing a peace officer.

Officers say Wheeler, of Clovis, is responsible not only for Thursday's robbery of Check into Cash in the 1300 block of Shaw Avenue but also for a robbery Nov. 24 at the same store and a heist at a convenience store at Clovis Avenue and Second Street on Tuesday at a convenience store.

He is also sought by police in Fresno in connection with robberies in Fresno and Nevada. A man police say assisted Wheeler in the robbery, Nick Alexander, 44, of Fresno, is being charged with carrying a loaded firearm.

Police spokeswoman Janet Stoll-Lee said after robbing the check-cashing store about 1:30 p.m., Wheeler sped westbound on Bullard Avenue and gave the money to Alexander, who was waiting at Fresno Street and Bullard. Alexander was arrested nearby by a federal agent who had heard reports of the robbery on his radio.

Wheeler crashed into a woman's car near Palm and Nees avenues and was taken into custody in a parking lot. The woman was taken to a hospital with nonlife-threatening injuries, as was a Clovis officer who was struck by a patrol car while chasing Wheeler.

A man in a Halloween mask robbed a Clovis store Thursday afternoon and led police on a high-speed chase that ended nine miles later when he crashed into a car in northwest Fresno, police said.

The alleged robber -- Scott Wheeler, 48, of Clovis -- then ran away, only to be tackled by a Clovis police officer. A woman in the car he hit was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Another Clovis officer who ran after Wheeler suffered a leg injury when a patrol car hit him.

Wheeler is expected to be charged with armed robbery, assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer and felony evading officers, police said.

It all began about 1:30 p.m. when Wheeler went into the Check Into Cash check-cashing store on the 1300 block of Shaw Avenue and robbed it, police said.

When Wheeler left the store and got behind the wheel of a blue Mazda Coupe, the store manager followed him in his own car, said Clovis police spokeswoman Janet Stoll-Lee. The manager called police to tell them where Wheeler was, Stoll-Lee said.

Fresno County sheriff's deputies in a helicopter saw Wheeler stop in the parking lot of a convenience store at Fresno Street and Bullard Avenue and put something into a white pickup truck. As the pickup left, Wheeler closely followed it in the Mazda.

A nearby agent with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives heard reports of the chase over the radio and saw the two vehicles, Stoll-Lee said. He followed them to Fresno and Escalon streets, where the white pickup pulled over abruptly. As the agent approached the truck, he was nearly hit by the suspect in the blue Mazda. Wheeler allegedly sped off in the Mazda, and the agent held the pickup driver at gunpoint until help arrived.

Wheeler continued toward Palm and Nees, where he hit the car and the chase ended.

Correction: In its reports of the case Thursday, the Clovis Police Department named the wrong check-cashing store. Clovis police corrected it Friday; the Check Into Cash store was robbed.

Also, Nick Alexander is not accused of helping with the robbery, according to Stoll-Lee. On Saturday, Stoll-Lee gave the following statement: "Nick Alexander was not involved in the robbery. He was parked at a mini-mart at the intersection at First and Bullard, where Wheeler stopped to give him the money. Alexander was arrested for carry a loaded firearm, but not for the robbery of the check cashing store."