A 29-year-old Yreka, California woman — Mishell J. Wong — is in custody on alleged charges of unlawfully taking a vehicle, felony reckless evasion and driving under the influence after an unusual incident that began in Susanville about 8:13 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 27.
According to a statement from the California Highway Patrol, Michael Gracia parked his unlocked and running vehicle and went inside the Susanville Chevron gas station. While he was in the station, he saw his vehicle drive away. Gracia gave chase, but was unable to stop the theft.
Multiple witnesses reported the vehicle as a reckless or possible drunken driver. A CHP officer located the vehicle at the intersection of Highway 36 and Highway 395 and attempted an enforcement stop, but the driver ignored the lights and siren and fled north on Highway 395.
During the pursuit, Wong allegedly “drove in a reckless manner, crossing over the yellow lines, driving on the shoulder and nearly going head on with two vehicles,” according to the statement. Speeds reached 80 miles per hour in a 55 mph zone.
The officer performed a successful PIT (Precision Immobilization Technique) maneuver, and the vehicle left the roadway, overturned and struck a fence near Mapes Lane in Litchfield. Wong sustained minor injuries and was taken into custody without incident, but the vehicle sustained major rollover damage.
The Lassen County Sheriff’s Office, the Susanville Police Department, the California Correctional center inmate fire crew and the Standish Fire Department assisted the CHP during the incident.
According to the statement, “The CHP encourages everyone to lock your vehicle and never leave it unattended while (it is) running.”