Susanville man in custody after evading officers

A Susanville man is in custody in the Lassen County Jail on charges of unlawful taking or driving of a vehicle and evading a peace officer with wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.

James Patzke, 27, also faces a no bail arrest warrant from the Washington State Department of Corrections for assault with a weapon or other item to cause harm.

A wild scene began about 9:50 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 11 when a Lassen County Sheriff’s deputy saw a stolen white Dodge Ram pickup driving northbound on Ash Street in Susanville. The pickup had been reported stolen earlier in the evening in the Johnstonville area.

The deputy initiated a traffic stop, but Patzke allegedly failed to yield and sped away in an attempt to evade the deputy. The deputy pursued the pickup through several residential streets in Susanville and eventually north on to Highway 139.

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Hearing the deputy was in pursuit, officers from the Susanville Police Department and California Highway Patrol assisted in the pursuit. Continuing to flee, Patzke allegedly led the deputy and assisting officers north on Highway 139 at speeds in excess of 100 mph. Shortly after turning on to a dirt road across from Merrillville Road, the pickup crashed into a ditch.

But the pursuit didn’t end there. Patzke allegedly fled the scene on foot and hid in a field. A short time later, he was located and taken into custody without incident.

Patzke’s bail was set at $40,000, but he will be held pending extradition to Washington.

The Lassen County Sheriff’s Office thanked the SPD and the CHP for their assistance in this incident.