According to a Ventura County Sheriff’s Department spokesman, the incident occurred August 4 at approximately 10:56 p.m. when the motor officer attempted to stop a vehicle “traveling erratically” in the area of Thousand Oaks Boulevard and Moorpark Road.
According to Sgt. B. Patton, “A short pursuit ensued and the driver of the Dodge pick-up truck lost control, colliding with a fence and a tree,” which caused it to lose a front tire.
The vehicle continued westbound on Thousand Oaks Boulevard, towards oncoming traffic, when the driver got out of the still moving vehicle and fled on foot.
The pickup came to a stop in the center median just before it entered the east bound lanes of heavily traveled Thousand Oaks Blvd.
Patton said two passengers - Christopher Rodriguez, 25, of Santa Paula, and Ashley Moraga, 20, of Oxnard - remained in the truck until it stopped and were immediately taken into custody.
Approximately thirty minutes later, “after an extensive search by the Sheriff’s K9 Unit, Air Unit, and the California Highway Patrol, the driver of the vehicle,” Patton said was identified as Thomas Meza, 31 of Oxnard, “was arrested in a nearby residential neighborhood.”
Meza, Patton added, “was located with the assistance of citizens who called in and advised his whereabouts... “
Meza and Rodriguez were taken to area hospitals for treatment and released into VCSD custody.
Then both men were arrested, as was Moraga.
The three were booked for various charges including felony evading, hit and run, possession of stolen property found in the vehicle, warrants, being under the influence of drugs and other potential drug related charges. Meza was also booked for driving under the influence of drugs.
“Due to the nature of this incident,” Patton said, “Investigators are continuing to gather information which could lead to additional victims of theft, as well as additional charges to the suspects.”
Sheriffs are also trying to determine the owners of the stolen property.
Anyone with any pertinent information regarding this case is asked to contact the Thousand Oaks PD Traffic Bureau / Investigations Bureau at 805-494-8271.
Ventura County Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 reward for information, which leads to the arrest and criminal complaint against the person(s) responsible for this crime. The caller may remain anonymous. The call is not recorded. Call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).