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Theft Suspect Drives Into Officers' Hands

September 25, 2004|Lance Pugmire | Times Staff Writer

A golf tournament for law enforcement and military officials was crashed Friday by an alleged car thief.

Brandon Ruiz, 32, led a San Bernardino County sheriff's deputy on a 100-mph, 2 1/2 -mile chase through Hesperia, ultimately crashing a stolen 1995 Ford Taurus after driving onto the grounds of Hesperia Country Club and launching the vehicle off a grassy hill, authorities said.

With the deputy in pursuit, Ruiz ran from the crash scene and took a golf cart from a maintenance worker on the course, where San Bernardino County Sheriff Gary Penrod was among the tournament's participants, authorities said.

Warren Nobles, a sheriff's deputy chief, and two military service members captured Ruiz, a sheriff's spokeswoman said. "[Ruiz] certainly picked the wrong place to dump the car and carjack that golf cart," said a sheriff's spokeswoman.

Ruiz was arrested on suspicion of grand theft auto, felony evading, assault with a deadly weapon and carjacking.

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