EL MONTE — Police and sheriff’s deputies arrested a man Thursday following a pursuit in a stolen car that ended in a fiery crash, authorities said.
Santino Santiago Luera, 19, was booked on suspicion of possession of narcotics, driving under the influence of narcotics, possession of a stolen vehicle and hit-and-run, according to El Monte police Lt. Dan Burlingham and county booking records. His hometown was not available.
A sheriff’s deputy spotted Luera flee the scene of a minor traffic collision shortly before 9:50 a.m. at Ramona and Valley boulevards, the lieutenant said.
Luera refused to pull over for the deputy, initiating a pursuit west on Valley Mall that ended when the driver went the wrong way up a one-way street at Valley Mall and Santa Anita Avenue, lost control, rolled the car and crashed into a dental office, Burlingham said.
Luera continued fleeing on foot as the car burst into flames, he said.
The first officer to reach the decision elected to put the fire out to prevent it from spreading to the building rather than continuing to chase the suspect on foot, Burlingham said. But officers and deputies found and arrested him nearby with the help of a helicopter.
Luera was being held in lieu of $75,000 bail pending his initial appearance Tuesday in El Monte Superior Court.