Police Chase in Riverside County

A high-speed chase from Riverside County ended on the southbound Interstate 15 near Escondido on Tuesday, leading to road closures and traffic delays before the morning rush hour. According to the California Highway Patrol, the chase began after an alleged car theft in the city of Hemet. Hemet police issued an alert to other law enforcement agencies to "be on the lookout" for the suspect, who was in a stolen Toyota Camry. Murrieta police officers later spotted the Toyota Camry and attempted to stop it for a traffic violation, said the California Highway Patrol. However, the suspect did not stop and fled, heading south on I-15. Speeds ranged from approximately 60 miles per hour to over 100 miles per hour as the driver progressed into San Diego County, according to the California Highway Patrol. When the vehicle reached San Diego County, a spike strip was used near Gopher Canyon Road, deflating the two front tires of the Toyota. As the vehicle approached Deer Springs Road, the Toyota was observed by California Highway Patrol officers veering left into the center divider, hitting the median wall. According to the California Highway Patrol, the vehicle then turned right, crossing all traffic lanes. The Toyota came to a stop facing south on the right shoulder after hitting the K-rail wall near the Deer Springs Road exit, according to the California Highway Patrol. Murrieta police and San Diego County Sheriff's deputies conducted a felony stop on the Toyota after the vehicle stopped. However, the California Highway Patrol says the driver did not respond, leading them to approach the vehicle. Upon making contact, officers observed that the driver had died from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to the California Highway Patrol. The identity of the suspect has not been disclosed. The two right lanes were blocked by the California Highway Patrol for on-site investigation. No further details were immediately known about the chase or the car theft incident that prompted it. Significant traffic delays occurred for southbound drivers as a result of the incident. A SigAlert was in effect throughout Tuesday morning. According to SigAlert.com, traffic appeared to have backed up to Rainbow Valley Boulevard at its peak.  
Location: Escondido, San Diego County, California, United States
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