Justin Sassilme, 35, of Massachusetts, was arrested in Oceanside after attempting to run into officers with a stolen vehicle in San Clemente.
Orange County Sheriff’s Department reported a suspicious person in a vehicle before 1:30 a.m. on Tuesday on the 1000 block of Calle Negocio.
“The informant thought the car was possibly casing the neighborhood, for whatever reason,” OCSD Lt. Jeff Hallock said, adding the car then turned toward a deputy who responded and tried to hit him but missed.
The Escalade left the area and started speeding southbound, Hallock said. Deputies tried to stop it as it drove onto El Camino Real.
“It got on the 1-5 freeway into San Diego County, and California Highway Patrol office in Oceanside took over the pursuit. We trailed it for a while but then he started driving erratic and at one point was on the wrong side of the 76 freeway.”
Sassilme was apprehended on the I-15 in Poway, where a K-9 was deployed and bit him as officers were pursuing him. The vehicle Sassilme was driving was reported stolen on Monday from Newport Beach.
No one else was involved in the pursuit, and Hallock said Sassilme was in custody at a hospital. Hallock said he does not know yet if Sassilme will be booked and stand trial in Orange County or San Diego County. The charges Sassilme will face depend on a number of factors, but he will likely be charged with vehicle theft and attempted assault on peace officer as well as possible others. —EH