Suspect Rams Police Cars in an Attempt to Escape
According to Sgt. Matthew Allert, on September 25, 2022, at 1:25 AM, Thermal Station deputies were involved in a vehicle pursuit with Jose J. Lopez Jr. in the 47000 block of Indio Blvd. in the city of Indio. Lopez was wanted for several felony charges, including stalking, domestic violence, and criminal threats. During the vehicle pursuit, Lopez used his vehicle to ram, pursuing Sheriff’s vehicles. At the conclusion of the vehicle pursuit, Lopez lost control of his vehicle and collided with a fence, disabling his vehicle. Lopez fled on foot and was apprehended with the assistance of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Service Dog. Lopez was arrested and booked at the John Benoit Detention Center for assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer, felony evading, stalking, domestic violence, and criminal threats.
Anyone with additional information on this investigation is urged to contact Deputy Martin of the Thermal Station by calling 760- 863-8990. If you wish to remain anonymous, call Valley Crimestoppers at (760) 341-7867
Pursuit of Suspected Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Driver and Weapons Arrest
Sergeant Mariano Matos III reports that on September 20, 2022, at 1:30 P.M., Coachella Community Action Team (CCAT) attempted to stop a grey sedan at Avenue 54 and Cesar Chavez Street in Coachella due to erratic driving. Based on the suspect’s driving actions, CCAT members believed the driver was operating a motor vehicle while impaired. The vehicle failed to stop for deputies, and a vehicle pursuit was initiated. The pursuit lasted less than one minute and ended when the suspect vehicle stopped in a dirt lot at Shady Lane and Avenida Del Prado.
The driver, Francisco Romero, a 44-year-old resident of Coachella, was detained without incident. Romero was found to have an active felony warrant for narcotic sales and appeared to be under the influence of narcotics. The investigation revealed Romero discarded a loaded handgun and two extended magazines during the pursuit. The items were located and seized. Romero was booked at the John Benoit Detention Center for driving under the influence, evading arrest, felon in possession of a loaded firearm, felon in possession of ammunition, and a felony warrant.
Major Injury Collision/ Driving Under the Influence Arrest
Sergeant Mark Chlarson reports that on Sunday, September 18, 2022, at 4:49 PM, Thermal Station deputies responded to a report of a major injury collision at the intersection of Avenue 48 and Dune Palms Drive in the city of La Quinta. When patrol deputies arrived, they located two vehicles, a white 2009 Nissan Rogue and a gray 2021 Dodge Durango, with major collision damage.
The four occupants of the Nissan Rogue had major injuries and were transported to Desert Regional Medical Center for treatment. The driver of the Dodge Durango, Daniel Jesus Barrera, a 21-year-old resident of Indio, refused medical treatment.
Members of the La Quinta Traffic Team arrived and assumed the investigation. The preliminary investigation found both vehicles were traveling westbound on Avenue 48 near Dune Palms Dr. Barrera was traveling at a high rate of speed and collided with the rear end of the Nissan, causing the Nissan to lose control and rollover. Barrera was determined to be driving under the influence of alcohol when the collision occurred and was arrested for driving under the influence causing injury. He was booked into John Benoit Detention Center.
This collision is still under investigation and anyone with information regarding this incident is urged to contact Deputy J. Shields of the Thermal Station at 760–863–8990 or call anonymously at (760) 341-STOP (7867) and reference incident #LA222610028.