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Man Driving Stolen Car Flees Ojai Deputies After Wreck While Clutching 3-Year-Old Toddler: Sheriff’s Office

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A man involved in a traffic collision in Ojai fled from deputies on foot while holding a 3-year-old toddler, whom he threw over several 6-foot fences before being taken into custody this week, authorities said.

Jesse Rivera is shown in a booking photo released by the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office on Aug. 18, 2017.

Jesse Rivera, 34, of Santa Paula was arrested after a chase Wednesday evening, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office announced Friday morning.

Deputies were responding to a crash at North Signal Street and Aliso Street, where Rivera, the driver of one of the vehicles involved, was determined to be at fault.

Driving a stolen 2006 Volkswagen Jetta, Rivera had failed to yield the right of way to the other vehicle and drove into the other vehicle’s rear bumper, causing minor damage, the Sheriff’s Office said.

While deputies were investigating the crash, Rivera allegedly grabbed his girlfriend’s 3-year-old child from the back seat of the Jetta and ran away, clutching the toddler.

Deputies gave chase.

Rivera “threw the toddler over several 6-foot fences,” climbing over himself and picking the child up on the other side, the Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.

The sheriff’s gang unit responded while deputies searched a perimeter area for Rivera, who was able to flag down an “unsuspecting citizen” for a ride.

The driver took Rivera and the toddler to a Vons supermarket on Maricopa Highway, where deputies caught up with the suspect and took him into custody with incident.

Rivera was booked into Ventura County jail on $110,000.

Jail records show he was held on suspicion of child endangerment and taking of a vehicle, both felonies, resisting an officer and driving without a license He is due in court Friday afternoon.

The toddler, whose name was not released, was not injured and was released to family members. “Child Protective Services was involved,” the Sheriff’s Office said.

The Jetta had been stolen from the 700 block of Harvard Boulevard in Santa Paula about 6:45 a.m. Monday.