On Tuesday, August 17, 2021 at about 2:47pm, Chico Police responded to a vehicle collision near the intersection of Cohasset Road and Azalea Avenue involving a Mazda 3 and a Dodge Charger. Witnesses reported that the black Dodge Charger was driving n/b Cohasset Rd at a high rate of speed just prior to the collision. The driver of the Mazda was transported by ambulance to a local hospital for major injuries. Her 17-yr old son was also in the vehicle. That juvenile was treated on scene and released to a family member with minor injuries.
Due to the severity of the injuries, the Chico Police Department Major Accident Investigation Team was called in and took over the investigation. While on scene, investigators talked with the driver of the Charger, Maximilian Freels, a 23-yr old Chico resident. Freels was the sole occupant and exhibited objective symptoms of intoxication and drug use. Freels was placed under arrest for DUI, transported to a local hospital where he was treated for minor injuries and cleared for incarceration. During a search prior to towing, Officers found a handgun inside Freels’ vehicle along with a loaded magazine nearby.
Both vehicles sustained major damage. Physical evidence and driver statements indicated the Mazda made a left, s/b turn onto Cohasset Road from Azalea Avenue just as Freels was traveling at a high rate of speed n/b Cohasset Rd. The two vehicles met near the center turn lane nearly head-on. The speed that Freels was traveling well exceeded the posted 40 mph speed limit and was likely more consistent with speeds traveled on a freeway. The force of the impact caused the Mazda to be pushed in the opposite direction and completely dislodged the engine block from the vehicle. Both the Mazda and its engine block traveled over 90 feet north from the point of impact.
The roadway was closed on Cohasset Rd from Pillsbury to Lindo Lane for just over 5 hours while investigators processed the scene. Freels was arrested for felony DUI (alcohol and drugs), Concealed carry of a firearm and criminal storage of a firearm. Freels was later transported to Butte County Jail with a bail amount of $81,000.
Case #: 21-4966
Location: 2500 block of Cohasset Rd.
Suspect: Maximilian Freels (23-yr old Chico resident)
Supervisor: Sgt. Todd Lefkowitz
Commander: Lt. Omar Peña
The Chico Police Department is committed to ensuring our community is a safe place to live, work, and recreate within!