EL CENTRO — On November 15, 2016, at 9:33 a.m., officers responded to a report of a vehicle which had just been stolen from the area of 1200 North 18th Street. The vehicle was described as a black Volkswagen. Officers responded to the area but were unsuccessful in locating the vehicle at that time.
At 3:37 p.m., officers responded to the area of 1700 Scott Avenue after a family member located the stolen Volkswagen being driven in the area. Officers located the vehicle in the area, confirmed it was in fact reported stolen and attempted to make a traffic stop. The driver of the vehicle, later identified as Elizardo Saenz (a 23 year-old resident of El Centro), failed to stop and a vehicle pursuit ensued. During the pursuit Saenz drove through crowded parking lots at unsafe speeds before driving against traffic causing several vehicles to pull off the road to avoid being struck.
Officers followed Saenz and the stolen vehicle as he drove west on Scott Avenue and onto a frontage road near 1002 North Imperial Avenue. Saenz again drove into oncoming lanes and struck a parked vehicle causing the stolen vehicle he was driving to strike the curb and come to a stop on the sidewalk where it was disabled. Saenz exited the vehicle and ran west to the rear of a local business as officers chased him. Officers located Saenz who was physically combative and was ultimately taken into custody. Saenz was provided medical treatment on scene for a dog bite and cleared for booking by hospital staff. He was transported and booked at the Imperial County Jail. Saenz is being charged with felony possession of stolen property, felony evading with wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property, misdemeanor hit and run and misdemeanor resisting arrest.
Our department is aware of a video depicting merely a portion of these events which has been posted to social media sites. As with any force used by officers from our agency, we take this matter very seriously and a thorough investigation will be conducted.
Additional information will be provided as it becomes available.