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Turlock Police: Explosive device found after man leads police on chase

Jonathan Lewis, 23, was arrested on suspicion of aggravated assault, hit and run, evading an officer, resisting arrest and possession of a destructive device.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A 23-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of aggravated assault, hit and run, evading an officer, resisting arrest and possession of a destructive device after leading law enforcement on chases in Solano County and Turlock, the Turlock Police Department says. 

On May 5, Turlock police said its officers were called to a gas station on Tully Road in Turlock where Jonathan Lewis was reported by 911 callers as being asleep behind the wheel of his car in the gas station's parking lot. When officers arrived at the scene, they suspected Lewis was under the influence of drugs or alcohol and attempted to speak with him through his heavily tinted windows, ordering him to open the driver's door.

Officers opened the car's door from the outside and began asking Lewis to get out of the car, which officials say Lewis ignored before beginning to drive the car in reverse. After officers say they told Lewis to stop the car, the suspect allegedly kept driving in reverse, hitting an officer.

The car came to a stop shortly after it hit a pole near a gas pump, officials say. Lewis then allegedly accelerated out of the parking lot, launching a chase that went from Highway 99 to Fulkerth Road. 

Officers followed the car until it stopped in Keyes, according to Turlock police. When Lewis parked the car, officers say they attempted to contact him a second time before he fled again, nearly striking a different officer and hitting a police motorcycle that was parked in the area.

Officers were unable to locate the car after it fled from Keyes.

Soon after, police say they found the car abandoned in Ceres and seized it as evidence to be processed after obtaining a warrant.

Posted by City of Turlock - Turlock Police Department on Saturday, May 14, 2022

Officers obtained the warrant on Wednesday, May 11, and allegedly found an improvised explosive device inside the passenger compartment. The finding caused the police department's Public Safety Facility to be evacuated as a bomb squad was called in to recover the device. Officers say the device was determined to be an explosive. 

Days after leading officers in Turlock on a chase, Lewis allegedly led officers in Solano County on another chase on Friday, May 13. The chase ended in a crash where authorities arrested Lewis. 

The Turlock Police Department is asking those with information on the crimes to call their department at 209-664-7399 or email tpdtipline@turlock.ca.us.

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