On 02-09-21 at approximately 1030 AM, Chico Police Officers were
in the area of the South One Mile Area of Bidwell Park. Officers
had been dispatched there for a subject who was acting suspicious
around parked vehicles in the parking lot of the recreation area.
While officers continued to check the area, they observed an
unrelated black Cadillac Escalade driving recklessly in the area.
Officers attempted to stop the vehicle as it continued to drive
recklessly. The vehicle failed to stop for the officers and a
pursuit was initiated.
Chico Police Officers pursued the vehicle as it continued onto Sherman Avenue near the Butte County Public Library. The vehicle made a left turn onto E. 3rd Avenue from Sherman Avenue, then made a right turn into an alley that runs northbound and parallels Sherman Avenue. As the Cadillac negotiated the right turn into the alley, it collided with a fixed above ground natural gas pipe. The Cadillac sheared off the pipe before coming to rest in the alley. The driver, who was the sole occupant, fled on foot to a neighboring apartment complex where he was taken into custody without incident. Nobody was injured as a result of the collision.
When the Cadillac collided with the pipe, natural gas began leaking from the exposed pipe. Students at two nearby schools were immediately evacuated from the area. Alternate sites were established for parents to meet and pick up their students. Several law enforcement agencies arrived to assist with traffic control in the area. Other city entities as well as multiple personnel from Chico Fire and Rescue responded to the scene. Pacific Gas and Electric was also summoned to the scene. Some of the surrounding neighborhoods were advised and evacuated as a precaution. A nearby elementary school also suspended the remainder of the school day as a result of the incident. Within 15 minutes of Pacific Gas and Electric arriving on scene, the gas leak had been stopped. After checking a nearby business and the surrounding area, the scene was declared safe.
The driver, identified as Joseph Hammett age 29 of Chico, was transported and ultimately booked into the Butte County Jail. Hammett was charged with felony evading a peace officer, driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs, hit & run, driving on a suspended driver’s license, probation violation and resisting arrest. There were no injuries resulting from this pursuit.
Chico, CA –
Location: Chico Police Dept.
Date/Time: 02-09-21 1030 AM
Suspect: Joseph Hammett, age 29, of Chico
Supervisor: Sgt. Todd Lefkowitz
Watch Commander: Sgt. Jeff Durkin
The Chico Police Department is committed to ensuring our community is a safe place to live, work, and recreate within!