UPDATE: KCSO identifies kidnapping suspect who died after crashing vehicle on I-5 during police pursuit

Crime Watch

UPDATE (5/14): The Kern County Sheriff’s Office has identified the man killed in the crash as 44-year-old Bakersfield man Michael Alvarez.

UPDATE: (5/12): The Bakersfield Police Department announced the suspect has died. The suspect’s identity will be released by the Kern County coroner’s office.

According to BPD, the suspect was accused by a young teen of kidnapping and sexual assault on Niles Street. The victim reportedly contacted law enforcement while inside the suspect’s vehicle and was able to escape in the City of Arvin.

The pursuit began when the suspect failed to yield to Arvin Police at North Comanche Road and Varsity Road. The Bakersfield Police Department took over the chase once it continued southbound on Highway 99. BPD said the victim told investigators that the suspect was on drugs and possibly armed with a gun.

As the suspect traveled southbound on Highway 99 his vehicle collided several times with the center guardrail. The California Highway Patrol took over the pursuit near Highway 99 and Sandrini Road.
The suspect vehicle became disabled due to repeated collisions with the center guardrail approximately a quarter mile north of the I-5 split.

According to BPD, the department’s SWAT team tried to negotiate a safe surrender for over an hour, but eventually a Taser was used to take the man into custody. He became unresponsive after that and was pronounced dead at a hospital, however the exact cause of death is currently unknown.

BPD encourages anyone with more information to contact them at (661) 327-7111.

UPDATE (2:01 p.m.): The freeway closed as a result of a chase involving a kidnapping suspect, according to the CHP.

The agency received a call from Arvin police around 10 a.m. advising they were chasing a kidnapping suspect who possibly had a girl in his vehicle, said CHP spokesman Robert Rodriguez.

The CHP took over the pursuit on southbound Highway 99. During the chase, the suspect kept exiting the freeway then getting back on, Rodriguez said.

The chase ended at the southbound 99 and Interstate 5 split when the suspect vehicle crashed into the center divider several times, Rodriguez said. The suspect, identified only as a male, refused to leave the vehicle. Rodriguez said he was removed with the assistance of the Bakersfield Police Department SWAT team and taken to a hospital.

The male was the sole occupant of the vehicle.

The entire freeway was closed about 90 minutes during the incident. Southbound 99 lanes were being diverted to Highway 166 and the truck bypass, he said.

UPDATE (1:10 p.m.): Northbound I-5 north of Laval road is now back open, according to the CHP. All southbound lanes of Highway 99 are being diverted to I-5 at Highway 166.

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — All lanes of Interstate 5 are closed north of Laval Road due to police activity, California Highway Patrol says.

Motorists should expect delays, the CHP said in a tweet shortly before noon.

More information will be provided as it becomes available.

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