A Madera police officer’s SUV burst into flames and was destroyed Monday after a pursuit that ended when the officer parked on dry grass to chase down a fleeing stolen car suspect.
Police reported that the officer spotted the pickup near County Club Drive and Sherwood Way and attempted to make a traffic stop. The suspect, identified as Moises Martinez, fled, but crashed into a canal. As the officer began to chase Martinez, he saw his SUV catch fire. Martinez was captured by officers a short distance away.
Catalytic converters on modern vehicles operate at temperatures of 1200 degrees Fahrenheit and can easily ignite grass.