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Paso car chase ends using the Jaws of Life

Posted: Monday, Jan 27th, 2014

Cowans Ford SUV crashed on Chestnut Street after CHP car chase Jan. 25. Photo by Kevin Kuhn

PASO ROBLES—It began as a routine traffic violation and ended in a crash that literally shook the ground of homes on Chestnut Street in Paso Robles. At 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 25, a Ford SUV driven by Claude Cowans careened into a dirt embankment on the west side of Chestnut Street. Cowans and his daughter Ameera, who was a passenger in the car were removed for the wreck of a vehicle using the Jaws of Life. Cowan was rushed to Sierra Vista Hospital with major injuries along with his daughter who sustained minor injury to the chest.

This all began when CHP Officer B. Williams made an enforcement stop of a white BMW at 7:15 a.m. on SR-46, east of Golden Hill Road. According to Officer Williams report, Mr. Cowans pulled over to the right hand shoulder about 200 feet in front of the BMW and began to slowly back into it. Officer Williams took his information at that point back up arrived at the scene; CHP Officer J. Ybarra had come to offer his assistance.

“While officer Williams was recording Cowans information he noticed Cowans drive away from the scene,” according to the CHP report. “Officer Ybarra left the scene to stop and re-contact Cowans. Officer Ybarra stopped Cowans on Golden Hill Road, North of Creston Road. Cowans seemed agitated and angry about the situation. Cowans then fled from Officer Ybarra where a pursuit ensued and continued onto westbound Creston Road and into the Paso Robles downtown area. Upon approaching Chestnut Street Cowans was unable to stop his Ford and collided with a dirt embankment.”

According to the report this accident is not suspected to be caused by intoxication. According to CHP Sgt. Dennis Packard the cause of the accident has yet to be ascertained.

“All we can do is speculate as to the reasoning of the driver it looks like he just made a series of errors that led to this pursuit,” Sgt. Packard explained. “We did determine that he was not under the influence of any drugs or alcohol but the investigation is still on going,” He went on to explain the procedure they fallow when in this type of situation.

“When the officers discovered that a minor was in the car when they first pulled over Cowans it changed the procedure for the pursuit. It was a short chase so the most important thing is for the officer to be aware of the actions as they are happening and be aware of other cars, pedestrians, the speed they are traveling and many other factors that are weighted when in a pursuit. After the pursuit report and accident investigation the CHP will recommend charges to the District Attorney and they will make the judgment regarding whether or not to prosecute. At this time the perpetrator is not charged with anything or been put under arrest.”

For the complete article see the 01-28-2014 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 01-28-2014 paper.

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Keywords: car, crash, Chestnut Street, Paso Robles

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