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DRIVER ARRESTED AFTER CHASES IN LODI, SANTA CLARITA AREAS.

Byline: Carol Rock Staff Writer

SANTA CLARITA - A Mohawk-coiffed suspect arrested Tuesday by California Highway Patrol officers after a pursuit on the Golden State Freeway apparently had led officers in Northern California on a similar ride earlier in the day, a CHP spokeswoman said Wednesday.

A Lodi Police Department official called local CHP Officer Dave Pokorney on Tuesday evening asking him about their suspect with the unusual hairstyle who abandoned a stolen car and tried to escape capture before his arrest near the transition road from Interstate 5 to the Foothill Freeway.

Authorities said Joshua Lee Usrey, 20, a transient from Colorado, abandoned a stolen vehicle he had been driving at a high rate of speed and attempted to flee on foot, then tripped and fell down the side of a truck- route embankment. He was arrested near the transition road from the Golden State Freeway to the Foothill Freeway.

``At one point in our pursuit, the suspect took off a knit cap and revealed a Mohawk haircut,'' CHP Officer Michelle Esposito said. ``When the officers (in Lodi) saw the tape of our pursuit, they recognized the guy from a pursuit they had earlier in the day.''

Lodi police, she said, had tried to stop Usrey for speeding there, but drew back for safety reasons after he was clocked driving up to 120 mph on surface streets.

Esposito said investigators discovered that Usrey had recently been released from custody in Amador County for unrelated drug-possession charges. A report in the Amador Ledger Dispatch newspaper said Usrey was arrested Dec. 14 on suspicion of felony possession of a controlled substance for sale. He is scheduled to appear in court Monday in Amador County.

Usrey is suspected of driving while under the influence of drugs in Tuesday's incident, Esposito said. He also was involved in a hit-and-run collision on Interstate 5 near Valencia Boulevard during the pursuit.

The vehicle Usrey was driving had been reported stolen in the Stockton CHP area. Lodi police will be recommending that prosecutors there file separate charges related to their incident. Locally, Usrey is expected to be charged with grand theft auto, hit-and-run, driving under the influence of drugs and receiving stolen property, Esposito said.

Carol Rock, (661) 257-5252

carol.rock(at)dailynews.com
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Mar 9, 2006
Words:377
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