Santa Ana police arrested a local truck driver on Wednesday around 2:00 p.m. after he crashed a stolen vehicle into three different businesses and one home. The police chase lasted some 20 minutes and finally ended in front of a law office.
The driver, who was identified by the Santa Ana Police, was a 48-year old local named Tuan Anh Truong.
According to the police, they received reports of a man driving a stolen GMC Sierra truck around 1:30 p.m. The man, it was said, was driving recklessly and was crashing into businesses.
Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said that Truong crashed into Sports Zone in Westminster, Temptation Café & Restaurant, and Thanh Noi Restaurant on North Euclid Street. Finally, he ran into a private home in the 2200 block of Bobby Lane.
Responding to the call, the police tried to pull Truong over, but he refused and the chase started. The pursuit, during which Truong ran several red lights, drove against the traffic and through shopping centers finally ended after he crashed in front of a law office in Westminster Boulevard.
After being arrested, Truong admitted he was under the influence of methamphetamines and crack cocaine. He also said he deliberately rammed the truck into one of the buildings because he thought his drug dealers were inside. Police said no drug dealers were found in any of the sites Truong crashed into.
Santa Ana police didn’t report any major injuries being sustained by patrons or passers-by. One customer of the Sports Zone café said he was injured.
According to another Sports Zone customer, Phung Tran, he witnessed a white truck back into the restaurant more than once. He said that the vehicle rammed the business head-first from the back two times, and then three more times from the front.
A resident of the home Truong crashed into said he was visibly “enraged” when he drove up to it. She also mentioned that he was yelling, cursing and continually honking the horn.
The woman, who refused to give her name, said they were scared Truong might back up and ram into their garage. Fortunately, he only crashed into a tree in front of the house before fleeing.
The police booked Truong for car theft, driving under the influence, hit-and-run, driving while on a DUI probation and driving with a suspended license. The truck he was driving was possibly stolen from Garden Grove. Truong could also have had two more hit-and-run incidents in Westminster, as well as one more in Garden Grove. Police are still investigating the crime.
Busy Memorial Day for Laguna Beach Police
Six drivers were arrested by Laguna Beach police, as well as 11 more for driving on a suspended license during the Memorial Day holiday weekend.
Laguna Beach Police stopped 797 drivers, responded to 135 calls and made 97 traffic stops.
This time last year, the Laguna Beach police arrested one drunk driver, as well as 10 more for driving on a revoked or suspended license.
The nearly 800 drivers were among more than 1600 who passed through a DUI checkpoint near Wesley Drive on Pacific Coast Highway that the police set up between 9:00 p.m. on Sunday and 3:00 a.m. Monday.
Laguna Beach Police Lieutenant Jeff Calvert said that he believes the increase in arrests comes from the facts that people generally don’t expect the police to be looking for DUI drivers on a Sunday night. Calvert also said that Laguna Beach police makes the most DUI arrests of any agency in the state of California, per capita.
The National Traffic Safety Administration says checkpoints have so far proven to be the most reliable and effective means to prevent DUI-related collisions. Pacific Coast Highway is the area where the majority of DUI crashes in Laguna Beach occur.