5 killed in crash on Hwy. 160 south of Sacramento before carjacking leads to pursuit, arrest

Five people are dead and a man was detained late Thursday after a violent crash on the Sacramento Delta led to a carjacking and police chase before sheriff’s deputies and CHP officers swarmed the suspect miles away in Elk Grove.

Three women and two men were killed just before 5:30 p.m. when their Cadillac Escalade plowed into a tree on the 8600 block of River Road, signed as Highway 160 along the river’s east bank, about 1 mile south of the Freeport Bridge, California Highway Patrol spokesman Officer Mark Leavitt said.

Moments after the fatal crash, a man believed to be the SUV’s lone survivor allegedly carjacked a passing motorist — who had pulled over to offer assistance to the victims. Leavitt said authorities were still trying to determine how the suspect was involved in the crash.

The suspect then took off in the Volkswagen sedan, going southeast toward Elk Grove. Nearby Sacramento County Sheriff’s deputies identified the stolen vehicle and pursued the speeding suspect onto Elk Grove Boulevard and Fire Poppy Drive across the street from Valley Hi Country Club.

Residents in Laguna Estates and Elk Grove Greens, where the chase ended, flooded social media with accounts of a chaotic scene: As many as 20 law enforcement vehicles lined Elk Grove Boulevard and Fire Poppy as a helicopter buzzed overhead. The man reportedly ditched the stolen car to flee through yards and over fences, witnesses said, before scaling the fence into Valley Hi’s course. The suspect made his way onto Laguna Lake Way several hundred yards east where he was met by authorities and detained.

The man was reportedly unhurt, but was taken to a hospital to be evaluated and for investigators to check whether he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the CHP’s Leavitt said. The person who was carjacked was also unhurt, authorities said.

Meantime, Highway 160 was expected to remain closed overnight from Hood-Franklin Road to Freeport Bridge, according to Caltrans, as a CHP major accident investigation team was poring over the scene on the Delta. The bridge across the Sacramento River is also expected to remain closed overnight.

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