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Police Search for Known Criminal after Wild Chase

Faustino Hernandez Vasquez took off on foot after a lengthy chase on Highway 17 and downtown Santa Cruz.

Several law enforcement agencies are on the hunt for the man pictured to the right — Faustino Hernandez Vasquez — who led officers on a chase from Highway 17 to Santa Cruz to a ravine near North Branciforte Street Wednesday afternoon.

At 2:25 p.m., a CHP officer attempted to stop Vasquez on Highway 17 when he was driving 80 miles per hour in a 55 zone. Vasquez fled the scene in high white Nissan truck and headed for Ocean Street in Santa Cruz.

"He collided with an unoccupied car on Plymouth Drive but continued to flee," CHP Officer Sarah Jackson said in a prepared statement.

Eventually he lost control of his truck on North Branciforte Street and took off on foot. According to Jackson, he ran off the road into a ravine. He crossed a creek and continued through back yards on Isbel Drive where he changed from a blue shirt to a grey shirt in an attempt to further elude police.

Officers from CHP, Santa Cruz Police Department and the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office created a perimeter around the area, but were unable to find Vasquez. 

The suspect has an extensive criminal history that includes methamphetamine abuse, "driving with a license suspended for prior DUIs, felony reckless evading, resisting arrest, trespass, and misdemeanor hit and run," Jackson said.

His whereabouts are now unknown, but he certainly could be anywhere in the county, if not farther away.

He is described as 30-years-old, small build, Hispanic and was last seen in a grey shirt. Anyone with information about the incident should call the CHP office in Aptos at 831-662-0511.

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