MODESTO (CBS13) — A 32-year-old Modesto woman has been arrested after deputies say she led them on a short chase in a stolen van – with her young daughter inside.
The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office says, late Sunday night, a deputy spotted a van near Mark Twain Park in the west Modesto area that had been reported stolen.READ MORE: Giving Tuesday: Where To Find Cause-Based Coalitions In Your City
Cell phone video shows the stolen blue minivan speeding while being chased by deputies. The driver, Leta Arias, finally stopped when she hit a dead end. Patrol cars pinned her in and deputies approached the vehicle with their guns drawn.
The audio from the cell phone captures the exchange:
Deputy: “…put your hands up now…
Arias: “…my baby’s in the car…”
Deputy: “…get on the ground now!…”
Deputy: “…drop, put it in park and get on the ground now!…”
Arias: “….I got to get my baby!…”
After about two minutes, Arias ended up at a dead-end along Briggs Avenue. Deputies then got Arias to come out of the van at gunpoint and she was arrested.
It was then that deputies found Arias had brought her two-year-old daughter with her in the van. The child wasn’t wearing any type of safety restraint, deputies say.READ MORE: Coyote Likely Behind ‘Suspicious’ Animal Deaths In Citrus Heights, Police Say
Her aunt, 55-year-old Mabel Rose Arias, was also in the van and was arrested on warrants.
Jose Ceja lives on the block where the pursuit finally ended.
He worried for his neighbors’ safety.
“It all happened so fast,” Ceja said. “At that moment I thought it could have crashed into one of the neighbors’ houses or something, you know, not knowing it was a dead end.”
Deputies say Leta Arias had been driving erratically during the chase, weaving in and out of traffic, and through stop signs.
“This mother chose to put their child in a very dangerous situation,” Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Deputy Luke Schwartz said.MORE NEWS: Police: At-Risk Man Reported Missing In Natomas Area
Leta Arias is now facing charges of child endangerment, auto theft, reckless evading, possession of stolen property, and a violation of probation. Her daughter is in the care of Child Protective Services.