Man held for al­leged North­ern Cal­i­for­nia road ram­page

Antelope Valley Press - - News -

DOS PA­LOS, Calif. (AP) — A man who may have been high on metham­phetamine smashed into eight cars on two North­ern Cal­i­for­nia free­ways on New Year’s Day, re­peat­edly ram­ming some and in­jur­ing three peo­ple be­fore plung­ing his pickup truck into an ir­ri­ga­tion ditch and break­ing into a home, the Cal­i­for­nia High­way Pa­trol said.

Rod­er­ick We­ston, 37, of Rock­lin was held after sow­ing ter­ror for two hours be­fore dawn Wed­nes­day on In­ter­state 5 and State Route 152 in Merced County in Cal­i­for­nia’s Cen­tral Val­ley, au­thor­i­ties said. He was ar­rested north of Dos Pa­los — about 80 miles from Fresno — and re­mained jailed Thurs­day. It wasn’t im­me­di­ately clear whether he had an at­tor­ney to speak on his be­half.

Three peo­ple were treated but none had ma­jor in­juries, au­thor­i­ties said.

We­ston owns a mar­ble and gran­ite in­stal­la­tion busi­ness. A rep­re­sen­ta­tive for the busi­ness and We­ston’s spouse de­clined to com­ment, the Sacra­mento Bee re­ported.

CHP of­fi­cers said it ap­peared We­ston was un­der the in­flu­ence of meth and told in­ves­ti­ga­tors that he was driv­ing like the video game “Grand Theft Auto,” Fresno tele­vi­sion sta­tion KFSN-TV re­ported.

Ac­cord­ing to the CHP, We­ston abruptly stopped his Toy­ota Tun­dra on I-5 at around 3:30 a.m., block­ing both south­bound lanes. When a driver be­hind him stopped to avoid a crash, We­ston jumped on her car hood but leaped off as she drove away, au­thor­i­ties said.

About two hours later, We­ston be­gan strik­ing ve­hi­cles in the fog on State Route 152. He drove the wrong way in east­bound lanes and even made U-turns to ap­proach ve­hi­cles that tried to get out of his way. In some cases after rear-end­ing or sideswip­ing them, he backed up to strike them again, ac­cord­ing to the CHP.

An am­bu­lance was rammed sev­eral times and flipped on its side. No pa­tients were in­side.

Ray Fer­nan­dez had pulled his Honda Civic off the road to sleep after cel­e­brat­ing New Year’s Eve at a casino.

“I get wo­ken up by my wife,” Fer­nan­dez told KFSN-TV. “She’s telling me some guy is er­rat­i­cally driv­ing so I started the car, and he just T-boned us and he backed up and he was scream­ing some­thing and she started scream­ing, and he backed up and T-boned us again.”

Fer­nan­dez and his wife jumped out of the car.

“The guy chased us with his car and then made some racial ... like asked if we were Amer­i­can, are we go­ing to kill him and if we called the cops,” Fer­nan­dez said. “We told him, ‘No, man! Can you just turn your car off be­cause you’re scar­ing us. You just ran us off the road and into the bushes.’”

We­ston’s truck then be­gan do­ing cir­cles in the mid­dle of the road. Fer­nan­dez and his wife were res­cued by a pass­ing Dodge Ram, which also al­legedly was at­tacked by We­ston.

At one point, Ram driver Jake Rianda said his truck was pinned against an exit sign.

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