■ By Taj Shorter / Metro Editor
A man was arrested after leading Menifee police on a reckless pursuit into Hemet on Mar. 10.
Last Sunday, a Menifee Police Department deputy attempted to stop a white Honda that had ran a red light. After checking the plates, the deputy found out the car was reported stolen.
The driver, Johnny Ray Autry Jr., 30, failed to yield to the deputy and began driving dangerously leading police on a high speed chase. Autry reportedly drove on the wrong side of the road and ran red lights multiple times.
Eventually, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Aviation unit followed the chase from above. “Star 9” was able to report ahead of time to Hemet Police officers that Autry was headed eastbound on Florida Avenue towards the San Jacinto Valley.
Hemet PD proactively placed spike strips along Florida, which eventually led to the driver losing control and crashing the Honda into two vehicles. Thankfully, neither occupants in the other vehicles sustained any injuries. Autry still continued to flee after the crash until he ultimately crashed again into an iron fence where the vehicle became trapped.
Autry then fled on foot, hopping fences and running through neighborhoods, until he was eventually detained in an apartment complex with the help of the sheriff’s K-9 unit. He sustained minor injuries including dog bites, but was evaluated by paramedics before being booked and taken into custody.
Autry is currently being held without bail at Southwest Detention Center pending the investigation of his charges including: hit and run, reckless driving, second degree burglary, possession of a stolen vehicle, and being a fugitive from justice. He was arraigned at the Riverside Hall of Justice on Mar. 13.
Anyone with information about this investigation is encouraged to contact Menifee PD at (951) 210-1000. Callers can refer to incident file number ME190690056 and can remain anonymous.