On May 11, 2017, at about 00:16 AM, an Escondido Police Officer attempted to stop a silver PT Cruiser in the area of Midway and Grand Avenue for an equipment violation. The driver stopped momentarily at the curb. Before approaching, the officer saw the rear windows of the vehicle roll down. The officer did not approach and attempted to verbally direct the occupants from his vehicle. After only a few seconds, the driver fled at a high rate of speed west bound on Grand Avenue.
The officer initiated a vehicle pursuit which continued west on Grand Avenue toward Rose Street. The vehicle reached speeds of 80 miles per hour in the 1500 block of East Grand Avenue. The PT cruiser gained distance on the officer as it crested the hill east of Ohio. The officer momentarily lost sight of the vehicle as it went over the hill. As the officer crested the hill, he discovered the PT Cruiser had collided with a group of parked vehicles on the north curb line of Grand Avenue just west of Ohio. The entire vehicle pursuit lasted under one minute.
Officers discovered there were two males and two females in the vehicle. One male was ejected on impact and died at the scene. Another female was removed from the vehicle and later pronounced at the scene. Life saving measures were attempted by Escondido fire personnel and police officers. The names of the deceased will be released by the coroner’s office after next of kin have been notified.
The remaining two occupants were transported to local hospitals where they are listed in serious but stable condition. All four occupants were between 18 and 21 years old and residents of Escondido and Vista. The occupant’s seating position in the vehicle is still under investigation.
Based on the officer’s statements and physical evidence at the scene it appears the PT Cruiser crested the hill west bound on Grand Avenue in the 1200 block. The driver lost control and rear ended a parked Chevrolet S10 pickup on the north side of Grand Avenue. The S10 and several other parked vehicles sustained major damage. The PT Cruiser flipped upside down and came to rest on its roof.
Alcohol / drug impairment and the reason for the pursuit is unknown at this time. The investigation is ongoing and is being conducted by Officer Steve Braucht of the Traffic Division. We are seeking the public’s help with anyone who may have witnessed the accident or has other information that would benefit the investigation. Witnesses are encouraged to call Officer Braucht at the above phone number.