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January 31, 2023

Cow closure spurs high-speed chase up Hwy 1

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY—A man was arrested on suspicion of driving a stolen truck and trying to evade police after he charged past their blockade on Highway 1 Monday.

California Highway Patrol officer Sam Courtney said the incident began when the CHP had to shut down all lanes of Highway 1 at the Mar Monte crossing around 10:30am because several cows had wandered onto the freeway.

At one point the driver of a Toyota 4Runner, identified as Felipe Albarran, 30, of Santa Cruz, began passing stopped traffic and the cows by using the freeway shoulder beside the northbound lanes. As the CHP tried to stop the driver, he sped off, triggering a lengthy pursuit.

Courtney said the chase wound along Highway 1 and eventually onto Highway 9 all the way into Boulder Creek before officers managed to successfully deploy a spike strip and flatten his tires. 

During the pursuit, the CHP learned that the truck had been reported stolen. In the end, the CHP arrested Albarran for DUI, evading arrest, auto theft and driving without a license, Courtney said.

The cows were unharmed.

Tarmo Hannula
Tarmo Hannula has been the lead photographer with The Pajaronian newspaper in Watsonville since 1997. He also reports on a wide range of topics, including police, fire, environment, schools, the arts and events. A fifth generation Californian, Tarmo was born in the Mother Lode of the Sierra (Columbia) and has lived in Santa Cruz County since the late 1970s. He earned a BA from UC Santa Cruz and has traveled to 33 countries.

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