Parolee arrested in Arcata following high-speed chase; Eureka man jumps from moving vehicle, leaves pregnant girlfriend in car

Posted on December 5, 2011. Filed under: Crime, Parole |

Jessica Cejnar/The Times-Standard
Posted: 12/01/2011 02:29:50 AM PST

Arcata police officers on Wednesday arrested a parolee who had allegedly led Eureka police officers and California Highway Patrol officers on a high-speed pursuit Tuesday evening that ended about 15 miles east of Blue Lake.

Charles Albert Kesselring, 25, fled into the woods when officers deployed a spike strip at Chezem Road and State Route 299, jumping out of the vehicle when it was still moving and leaving his 18-year-old pregnant girlfriend in the car, said Sgt. Steve Watson of the Eureka Police Department’s Problem Oriented Policing Unit. The vehicle went down a steep embankment and hit a tree about 64 feet from the road, Watson said. The woman, who was not arrested, declined medical assistance.

Arcata police officers arrested Kesselring at the Intermodal Transit Center just after noon.

Officers with EPD’s POP Unit began searching for Kesselring on Tuesday morning because the department felt he posed a significant public risk, Watson said. Kesselring, an active parolee, is allegedly a member or former member of a Southern California criminal street gang and is suspected in several local vehicle thefts and high-speed pursuits, Watson said. Kesselring was allegedly driving a stolen vehicle and was recklessly evading officers during two of the chases.

A POP investigator spotted Kesselring driving a light blue Ford Escape at 14th and J streets at about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and began following him. According to Watson, Kesselring’s car matched the description of a vehicle that had been stolen on Thanksgiving Day. The pursuit began near 3rd and V streets when Kesselring noticed officers following him, Watson said.

Kesselring fled north on U.S. Highway 101 and east for about 35 miles on State Route 299, reaching speeds of more than 100 miles per hour, Watson said. Kesselring lost control of his car when officers deployed a spike strip at Chezem Road.

”The driver jumped out of the vehicle and took off (down) heavily wooded slopes,” Watson said. “Meanwhile, the vehicle continued rolling off of a steep embankment with his passenger, an 18-year-old pregnant girlfriend, in the car.”

Officers chased Kesselring into the woods and deployed a K-9 unit, but because of the darkness and the heavily wooded terrain, Kesselring eluded capture, Watson said. Early Wednesday morning, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a report that someone appeared to be passed out in a car with the windows broken out, but by the time law enforcement arrived, the man was gone. Watson said sheriff’s deputies believed the man was Kesselring. Watson added that officials believe someone drove Kesselring to the Arcata transit center, where officers arrested him.

APD officers booked Kesselring into the Humboldt County jail on charges of felony vehicle theft, possession of stolen property and felony evading, Watson said. Kesselring also had a felony parole warrant out for his arrest. Watson said officers found a wallet with credit cards in the vehicle that had been reported stolen.

Watson also said that the district attorney will review possible assault with a deadly weapon charges against Kesselring. During an interview Wednesday, Kesselring admitted to investigators that he was the driver of the Ford Escape during the police pursuit and that he didn’t intend for the vehicle to go off the road with his girlfriend in it.

In addition to APD, the California Highway Patrol assisted in the case, Watson said.

”We extend appreciation for this multiagency effort,” Watson said.

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