2 Teenagers Arrested Following Robbery, Pursuit in Santa Maria

Two teenagers were arrested on Tuesday after a robbery and a pursuit in Santa Maria, according to authorities

A 14- and 15-year-old boy were booked on suspicion of robbery, vehicle theft, felony evading law enforcement, felony child endangerment and fleeing the scene of an accident, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office said.

The County Public Safety Dispatch Center received a 911 call about a robbery around 6:30 a.m. at a group home in the 4600 block of South Bradley Road in Santa Maria.

Two teenagers allegedly confronted an employee with a knife and demanded the keys to a vehicle owned by the company. One of them was accused of using a chain to choke the victim until she provided the keys. The boys then took a white van and fled, the Sheriff’s Office said.

The California Highway Patrol soon received 911 calls about a vehicle matching the van’s description recklessly traveling south, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

A deputy spotted the vehicle southbound on the 101 Freeway passing State Route 246, the agency said. CHP officers started pursuing the van, which struck a pickup truck but continued to travel toward the summit of Nojoqui Grade. The driver lost control of the van  there and went off the roadway, resulting in flat tires.

The driver kept going but the vehicle became disabled and he soon pulled onto the center divider, the Sheriff’s Office said.

The suspects were detained, medically evaluated and released to the Sheriff’s Office.

Officials said shortly after the end of that chase, a responding CHP officer became involved in a crash on the southbound 101 with several vehicles that had slowed down due to traffic.

Units deployed in the earlier pursuit went to assist the officer. Two detectives who weren’t in uniform but happened to be at the scene also responded to the incident, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

One person suffered moderate injuries and six others, including two infants, sustained minor injuries, the Santa Barbara County Fire Department’s Mike Eliason tweeted. They were taken to a local hospital.

An image from the scene shows substantial damages to the front of a CHP vehicle. It’s unclear whether the officer was one of the people injured.

Authorities provided no further information.