Reader Warren E writes:
The headline says it all. Stole a Tesla. High speed chase. Battery died. Thief apprehended.
An ultimate range anxiety story.
RIVERSIDE — A probationer who led Riverside police officers on a dangerous, high-speed pursuit in a luxury electric sports car was arrested after the plug-in car’s batteries died Sunday night, Feb. 17. The pursuit, which wound its way from Riverside’s Eastside neighborhood into Orange County, ended in a felony stop on the 91 Freeway.
LEADING THE RIVERSIDE HEADLINES:
Riverside police officers were first alerted to the vehicle theft around 7:45 p.m., after the owner of an electric-powered Tesla called 911 to report his car had just been stolen from a parking garage on the 1400 block of Everton Pl.
With an app available to Tesla owners, the victim was able to track his stolen vehicle from his phone, and immediately began providing officers with “real-time” updates of the car’s movements, Riverside PD later explained.
Based on those updates, a responding officer quickly spotted the car as it was exiting the 91 Freeway at Adams St. But as officers prepared to conduct a traffic stop, the driver of the stolen vehicle, later identified as Filiberto Felix, 30-years-old of Riverside, refused to yield and sped away from officers.
Officials initiated a vehicle pursuit that first traveled through the city streets. Felix then got back onto the freeway before once again exiting at Magnolia Ave. The fleeing man continued to lead officers on pursuit as he traveled up La Sierra Ave. to Cajalco Rd., then to the 15 Freeway.
During the chase, Felix drove without regard for the safety of officers or other citizens and the ground pursuit was eventually deemed too dangerous to continue and patrol officers backed out of the chase; allowing the department’s Air Support Unit, “Air-1” to take over.
Felix eventually got onto the westbound 91 freeway and headed into Orange County, where the luxury car’s batteries eventually died, leaving the fleeing man stranded. With his stolen ride’s batteries dead, CHP quickly moved in and conducted a high-risk stop and arrested the car thief. CHP later turned the alleged suspect over to RPD officers.
We don’t know if all the high-speed and reckless driving caused the Tesla’s battery to go low, or if it didn’t have a full charge when stolen, but the owner said the battery was dying which caused the driver to stop on the freeway,” RPD later explained.