SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KRON) — The Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office released the name of a driver accused of leading deputies on a wild high speed chase that ended when a stolen car plummeted down a cliff and landed in the ocean.
Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Ashley Keehn said the driver was 56-year-old John Kenyanjui of Portland. He is being held in the county jail on charges including carjacking, evading police, and hit-and-run.
On Tuesday afternoon deputies responded to reports of a man shooting a gun into the air in the coastal area between Waddell Creek and Scotts Creek near Davenport. Not long after, the man carjacked a victim and took off in the vehicle, Keehn said.
Deputies found the carjacker and attempted to stop the stolen car, but the carjacker raced south along Highway 1, driving more than 100 miles per hour.
“The suspect continued into the City of Santa Cruz down Mission Street, where deputies terminated the pursuit for the safety of the community,” Keehn said.
Moments later, Santa Cruz Police Department officers spotted the vehicle on West Cliff
Drive near Stockton Avenue. The driver crashed down the cliff into the water below.
No one was injured during the chase or crash, according to the Sheriff’s Office. Keehn said the carjacker “was able to get out on his own and climb up the side of the hill.”
Emergency crews attempted to tow the car out of the ocean and a large crowd gathered to watch. Rough waves eventually caused the effort to be called off because it was too dangerous.
“Kenyanjui is being held in our main jail on $100,000 bail. We are working with other agencies to determine if he had any connection to separate similar crimes in the Bay Area,” Keehn said.
The Sheriff’s Office wrote on Facebook, “We are extremely grateful for all of the first responders who helped us bring the suspect into custody and Santa Cruz Regional 911 for their incredible work from start to finish.”