A 24-year-old man has been arrested and faces several charges after leading police in a pursuit that ended with a dramatic crash into the historic Plaza Park fountain in Orange on Monday, authorities announced.
The incident unfolded just after 5 a.m. when an officer with the Orange Police Department observed a motorist in a Hyundai Sonata driving with their headlights off in the 100 block of South Parker Street.
When the officer attempted a traffic stop, the suspect, identified as Raymond Salazar Felix, fled east at a high rate of speed on Chapman Avenue, police said.
Surveillance video from the City of Orange shows Felix driving straight into the Plaza Park roundabout and colliding with the iconic fountain, causing the Hyundai to flip several times before coming to a stop near the other end of the plaza.
The 24-year-old, who suffered moderate injuries in the crash, was found to be in possession of a ghost gun and a high-capacity magazine.
“Upon further investigation, officers determined Felix had just stolen the Hyundai from Parker Street and he is on probation for vehicle theft out of Kern County,” police said.
Felix was taken to the hospital for his injuries and was expected to be booked at the Orange County Jail later.
A portion of the fountain’s base, along with its historic tile work, was destroyed in the collision.
Officials with the City of Orange on Monday said that safety improvements were already in progress at the park and would be continued while the damage to the fountain was evaluated.
“Fountain restoration work and repairs to Plaza Park will be scheduled soon,” city officials said.
According to a report by The Orange County Register, the city describes Plaza Park, designed in 1886, as the “historic heart” of Orange.