High speed pursuit ends in Dunnigan

A Livermore man is behind bars after a pursuit that began near Williams on Sunday night ended in bizarre fashion in Yolo County.

James M. Moreland, 24, was arrested by a California Highway Patrol officer after a pursuit that reached speeds of up to 110 mph and spanned about 21 miles, from north of Williams to Dunnigan on Interstate 5.

According to a news release from the agency, the California Highway Patrol’s Chico Communication Center began receiving calls from concerned motorists on Interstate 5 at around 8:21 PM on Sunday night, regarding a red or maroon van that was traveling on southbound Interstate 5 at speeds greater than 95 mph, and was passing cars on the right shoulder of the freeway. 

Shortly after the Chico Communication Center broadcast the report to CHP units in the area, an officer north of Williams spotted a vehicle approaching his location at “a very high rate of speed” – 104 mph, according to the officer’s forward-facing Doppler RADAR. The officer made a u-turn in the center median and accelerated to catch up to the 2006 Dodge Caravan, which matched the description from the Chico Communication Center.

The officer activated the patrol vehicle’s emergency lights and sirens as they approached the E Street off-ramp near Williams, but Moreland refused to pull over and accelerated in an attempt to evade the officer, who then initiated a pursuit, according to the news release.

Moreland continued to flee south on Interstate 5, reaching speeds of between 100 and 110 mph, while also exhibiting “other unsafe driving methods as he attempted to elude the trailing CHP officer.” 

Moreland finally exited at Exit 556 into Dunnigan, and slowed to a stop at the intersection there, at which point he “began removing his clothing including his shirt, socks, and sandals, and exited the vehicle as it continued to roll across (Yolo) County Road 6.” 

CHP said that the van continued to roll across the roadway and eventually came to a stop about 75 feet off the roadway, partially into an irrigation ditch. After coming to a stop, Moreland complied with all commands and was safely taken into custody. No one was injured during the incident. Moreland was arrested on suspicion of evading police and reckless driving, and was booked into the Colusa County Jail. His bail was set at $5,000. ■