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Stolen Car Pursuit Causes Containment In Canyon Country

khts_crimeUPDATED Friday, 12:55 p.m.

Two men were arrested late Thursday night after they led deputies on a chase into Canyon Country shortly before 11 p.m.

The pair were in a car reported stolen from an unincorporated area of the Santa Clarita Valley earlier in the day; after officers observed the driver driving erratically on Langside Drive and Soledad Canyon Road, they attempted to stop the car, but the pair fled towards the North Oaks area of Canyon Country.

 

As the vehicle, a 1990 white Accura, sped eastbound on Soledad Canyon Road, deputies said that the driver nearly collided with several cars before turning left on Camp Plenty Road against a red light and speeding through stop signs in the neighborhood surrounding Sierra Vista Junior High School.

Deputies set up a containment near Nadal Street and Whites Canyon Road that included Camp Plenty and Plum Canyon Roads. Air units were also deployed to help in the search.

According to Sgt. Darren Harris, the driver lost control of the vehicle and hit a curb at Camp Plenty Road near Nadal Street and both men in the car jumped out and attempted to run. The driver, Jonathan Blankenship, 28, stopped and was arrested; the passenger, Robert Merriman, 19, ran and was found hiding in a trash can in the 27000 block of Camp Plenty Road.

Blankenship was booked on suspicion of felony charges including evading police and taking a vehicle without the owner's permission. He is being held at the Santa Clarita station in lieu of $25,000 bail.

Merriman was found to be in possession of a hypodermic needle and was booked on suspicion of possession of narcotic paraphernalia. He had an outstanding $100,000 warrant from an unresolved under the influence of a controlled substance arrest; he is being held in lieu of $100,500 bail.

Both men are scheduled to appear in court next week.