Wild police chase through East Valley ends in crash, fight with officers

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Ernest Abeita By Jennifer Thomas Ernest Abeita By Jennifer Thomas

GILBERT, Ariz. -- A high-speed 18-mile-long police pursuit ended with a crash and a fight with police.

Just before 10 a.m. Wednesday, GIlbert police recevied a 911 call and reports of an eratic driver on the Loop 202. Officers cuaght up with the suspect, Ernest Abeita, 22, near Williams Field and initiated a stop but the suspect fled.

Police said repsonding officers then tried to box in the suspect near Recker Road and the 202 San Tan, but Albeita reportedly rammed those police cruisers and again escaped.

The Mesa police air unit continued the pursuit while Department of Public Safety and Maricopa County Sheriff's Office personnel got ahead and set up stop sticks. That's where Gilbert police officers say the suspect lost control and landed in the median near McDowell Road and the 202 Red Mountain.

Video from an Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) camera shows officers pursuing Abeita, who continued northbound on the Santan Freeway, and eventually passed the U.S. 60, where the Loop 202 turns into the Red Mountain Freeway. 

Officers reported speeds as high as 85 mph. Abeita began to round the northeast corner of the Red Mountain Freeway, where, according to police, he spun out a second time near McDowell Road.

According to scanners, officers pinned the suspect car, reportedly a white four-door Pontiac. Abeita eventually ended up out of the car and fought officers. One officers suffered some minor scratches and Albeita was taken to the hospital as a precaution

Aerial video from the  News Chopper showed the suspect in custody, surrounded by officers. It also showed him being treated by paramedics and loaded into a ambulance.

Albeita faces multiple charges including aggravated assault on a police officer, unlawful flight and resisting arrest.