3 arrested after police pursuit on I-17 - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

3 arrested after police pursuit on I-17

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Ryan Tsosie Ryan Tsosie
Shane Johnson Shane Johnson
PHOENIX -

Police say two men and an underage girl were arrested after the three allegedly traveled in a stolen vehicle for nearly 20 miles Wednesday afternoon, fleeing from law enforcement agencies at high rates of speed.

Phoenix Police Officer James Holmes says this all started at 19th Ave and Mountain View about 4 p.m. Officers ran the license plate of a yellow Honda Civic coupe, realized it was stolen, and tried to initiate a traffic stop.  

The driver, 22-year-old Ryan Tsosie, did not comply and took off towards I-17 northbound. While on the on-ramp to I-17, he struck several cars.

At one point, a DPS officer was able to catch up with him and pulled alongside the car to get a better look at who was inside. He could've tried a pit maneuver, but didn't.

The driver eventually got off the freeway via the Bumblebee exit, in Black Canyon City. The coupe then made its way onto a winding dirt road, sometimes on the wrong side of the road, forcing oncoming motorists to swerve out of the way.

Around 4:40, the car lost control and went off down an embankment, the chase coming to a screeching halt. The driver then bailed out of the car and made a "really futile attempt" to run, Holmes said.

Two other people also exited the vehicle, 19-year-old Shane Johnson and a 17-year-old girl.

Officers with rifles were close by to take everyone into custody. The suspects made the wise decision to give up.

"We got to expect there's probably something else going on, with these folks, just by the way they evaded the police, they put the public in danger… that's what we've got to find out in the next several hours," said Officer James Holmes.

Tsosie was booked into jail and faces charges of auto theft, felony flight, aggravated assault and numerous felony warrants. Johnson was booked into jail and faces auto theft charges. The 17-year-old girl was taken to a juvenile corrections center and faces auto theft charges.

When all this wrapped up Wednesday night, we talked to the owner of that stolen car. As this chase unfolded, he was glued to the TV.

"I expected it to see it trashed in some lot somewhere. I didn't expect to see it on the evening news on a high speed car chase," says Richard Leistner.

Leistner's yellow Honda Civic was stolen from his Tempe apartment complex Tuesday morning. There was no sign of the car until today.

"I immediately flipped on and switched it over to you guys and I could see the decal on the back identifying it as my stolen car."

His car is pretty unique. It's a turbo-charged Civic with a big decal on the back that reads Jackson Racing.

"The previous owner's name was Jackson so he actually put the decal on there and l left it because I liked it."

Once he found his car was stolen he called Tempe Police.

"They came over, they took the report and they said if you see your car call us and when I saw my car on the news I called them and said I see my car," says Leistner. "It was pretty nerve-wracking, the whole time I am thinking, don't crash my car. Don't put people's lives at risk. It's not worth it."

The worst though, was watching his car crash off an embankment.

"I am hoping to get it back. I am hoping that the car isn't totaled. I can go about my life, my daily business."

Leistner is a student teacher and had to miss the past two days of work because of all this. Now he's just waiting to find out when he'll get his car back.

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