Westside Santa Cruz disrupted by hours-lengthy chase




SANTA CRUZ >> Police sirens blared in Westside Santa Cruz on Wednesday morning while a man led an erratic, circular, chase through neighborhoods between the Circles and Getchell Street. The chase started about 1 a.m. after a disturbance at a business at the 2200 block of Mission Street where the man, Michael Richards, returned after he threw a metal chair through a glass door before leaving the establishment the first time, Lt. Jose Garcia said.

Richards, 43, of no known address, was arrested about six hours later after wading waist-deep in the San Lorenzo River with police negotiating with him about one hour, Garcia said. Richards is charged with felony eluding arrest, felony assault on a police officer and resisting arrest.

Richards ran and drove away from authorities across the Westside to downtown for hours. He traveled 3 to 25 mph with officers close behind him most of the way. He went the wrong way on Pacific and Riverside avenues, 2nd Street and Mission Boulevard. He made multiple passes on West Cliff Drive and passed Lighthouse Point in the process.

Spike strips were used in attempts to stop the slow-going getaway.

Richards is accused of ramming a police car. He later drove into San Lorenzo Park and left his car and ran from police.

A search did not immediately result in Richards’ arrest.

About 7:30 a.m., officers went to the 800 block of Riverside Avenue on reports of a disturbance between two people. One of the people involved matched descriptions of Richards, Garcia said.

“As the officers arrived, Richards again fled on foot and eventually ran into the San Lorenzo River,” Garcia said. “Richards remained in waist-deep water as officers attempted to negotiate his surrender for about an hour.”

Nonlethal munitions were used to try to stop the man. He eventually was arrested and taken to Dominican Hospital.

Richards was taken to Santa Cruz County Jail on Thursday afternoon. No bail was set.


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