Crime - Sacto 911

He led cops on a 70-mile chase — and stopped to set a field on fire, Sacramento police say

Joe Chanthavong, 33, was arrested Wednesday after leading law enforcement on a high-speed car chase through at least two counties, Sacramento police said.
Joe Chanthavong, 33, was arrested Wednesday after leading law enforcement on a high-speed car chase through at least two counties, Sacramento police said.

A man led law enforcement on a 70-mile high-speed chase through at least two counties, even stopping once to set fire to a field Wednesday, Sacramento police said.

The chase started in the 2500 block of West El Camino Avenue shortly before 6 p.m. when police officers from the Post Release Community Supervision team were searching the area for Joe Chanthavong, 33, who is suspected of being a parolee-at-large, said Sgt. Vance Chandler, spokesman for the Sacramento Police Department.

Officers spotted Chanthavong in a vehicle, and when they tried to make a traffic stop, he sped away, they said.

Officers followed Chanthavong onto eastbound Interstate 80 to Truxel Road and then onto Garden Highway, said Officer Mike Zerfas, spokesman for the California Highway Patrol.

The chase at times reached speeds high enough that officers backed off and a helicopter followed Chanthavong’s car, Chandler said.

While he was fleeing along Garden Highway near Radio Road, officers saw Chanthavong throw an object out of his car into a canal, Chandler said. Officers are still searching the area for that object, he said. Divers from the Drowning Accident Rescue Team will comb through the canal in the morning, too.

The chase went on for about an hour and continued into Placer County.

At one point, the suspect got out of his car and set fire to a field, Chandler said. K-9 officers put the fire out before continuing to chase him, he said.

The chase ended in the area of South Brewer Road and Moore Road where CHP officers took Chanthavong into custody “without too much incident,” Zerfas said.

Chanthavong was booked into the Sacramento County jail on felony charges of evading arrest, vehicle theft, felon in possession of ammunition and unlawfully causing a fire, according to the inmate log.

Chanthavong was previously convicted of tampering with a vehicle and receiving stolen property in 2005, according to Sacramento Superior Court records.

In 2014, he was sentenced to six years in state prison, court records show.

Molly Sullivan: 916-321-1176, @SullivanMollyM

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