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Update: High speed chase ends in dramatic accident 

High Speed Chase

The accident scene at Chestnut and 13th streets. Photo by David Bouillez.

Update Jan. 27, 2014: The driver of the Ford Explorer has been identified as Claude Cowans of Paso Robles and the passenger as his 5-year-old daughter. Cowans suffered major injuries in the accident, his daughter suffered moderate injuries.

Original story: The driver of a Ford Explorer crashed into a hillside after a high speed chase on Saturday evening.


It took about 30 minutes to rescue the driver of the Ford Explorer. Photo by Kevin Kuhn.

The driver and a young passenger were injured in the accident. Firefighters at the scene used the jaws of life to extricate the driver, according to witnesses. Both the driver and the child were taken to the hospital. Their conditions are unknown.

A witness described the driver as a black male and the passenger as a girl about 5-years-old.

“He almost hit me and Travis,” said Paso Robles resident David Bouillez, who was walking his dog at Spring and 13th streets. He said he heard sirens and then saw the Ford Explorer heading up 13th Street westbound and race across Spring Street at speeds over 60 mph. “The guy crashed into a vacant lot between two houses at 13th and Chestnut streets,” he said.

The chase began during a routine traffic stop at 7:21 p.m. on Highway 46 East, according to a CHP incident log. While at a traffic stop with a BMW, a CHP officer reported the Ford Explorer pulled over and then backed into the BMW, the log says. The Ford Explorer then fled southbound on Golden Hill Road to westbound Creston Road. By 7:29 p.m. the Ford Explorer had sped up 13th Street, burst through a chain-link fence, hit a steep hill, flew up, and landed on a pile of rocks. A nearby neighbor said his house shook from the impact.

The pile of rocks is on the property of the historic Reid-Hamilton house at 1301 Chestnut Street. The house is currently raised on blocks and being remodeled. It has been boarded up since the San Simeon earthquake 10 years ago. It was built in 1903 by the Plymouth Congregational church’s pastor and architect Francis W. Reid.

Chestnut was closed Saturday evening as several police cars and rescue vehicles filled the street. Dozens of local residents looked on. The CHP was not available for further details at press time.



About the author: Publisher Scott Brennan

Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn, or follow his blog.