Merced County pursuit ends with 2 arrests

Two men were arrested Tuesday night after a vehicle pursuit with law enforcement, the Merced County Sheriff’s Department reported.

The pursuit began just before 9 p.m. when Deputy Javier Garcia had stopped to check a suspicious red Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck with two occupants near Drake and Lobo avenues in the Beachwood area, according to Deputy Ed Katen.

The driver sped off and a pursuit followed, with speeds reaching 80 mph northbound on Highway 99 to the Westside Boulevard exit. The California Highway Patrol assisted deputies by deploying a spike strip, ending the pursuit on Highway 140 east of Applegate Road. The driver, 26-year-old Leonel Saenz, had an outstanding felony warrant for his arrest.

Deputies identified Jose Valencia, 27, as the passenger in the vehicle. Law enforcement found a small amount of methamphetamine in the vehicle, according to deputies.

Both men were taken into custody.