Two South County burglary suspects in custody after high-speed pursuit, wildfire

On Monday, June 26, an observant Lassen County Sheriff’s deputy recognized two men suspected in numerous South County burglaries in a silver Jeep Grand Cherokee headed southbound on Highway 395 near Flux Road in Milford. Because of numerous contacts with law enforcement, the deputy also knew the driver, Billie Keck, had a warrant out for his arrest and was driving on a suspended license. The deputy also identified the passenger as Kyle Keck.

According to a statement from the Lassen County Sheriff’s Office, deputies positioned their vehicles behind Keck’s Jeep, activated their overhead lights and sirens and initiated an enforcement stop.  The Jeep fled and began passing traffic at consistent speeds between 100 and 110 miles-per-hour. Several vehicles had to drive off the shoulder of the roadway to avoid a collision.

Keck attempted to cause a collision by brake-checking the pursuing deputy’s vehicle. The chase continued south on Highway 395 past the Long Valley Creek bridge when Keck made an abrupt turn and began driving off-road through thick sage brush owards Erwin Lane.

Deputies discontinued their pursuit, requested assistance from additional LCSO and CHP units and set up a perimeter around the area. A CHP helicopter also responded.

The Kecks fled on foot towards Erwin Lane.  A deputy observed the Jeep fully engulfed in flames and the fire quickly spread to the vegetation, causing an approximately a ½ acre brush fire.  Several fire agencies from the area responded and were able to extinguish the flames.  A strong thunder cell moved through the area, causing a heavy downpour, along with wind and lightning.

Then deputies learned the suspects were seen running in the area of Pickens Road.  Officers converged on the area and set up a refined perimeter and began searching on foot.

Deputies located both the Kecks hiding under vegetation and arrested both men without further incident approximately two miles from their vehicle.

Both men were transported to the Lassen County Jail where they were booked for the following charges:

Billie Keck — Felony evading arrest; felony arson; battery on a peace officer or emergency personnel;  resisting, obstructing, or delaying arrest; burglary; and a Lassen County warrant on vandalism and theft charges.

Kyle Keck — Resisting, obstructing, or delaying arrest; possession of a controlled substance; possession of drug paraphernalia; and burglary.

The LCSO thanks the California Highway Patrol, CalFire law enforcement and the numerous local fire agencies for their assistance in this case.