FAIRFIELD — A wild vehicle pursuit Friday ended after a California Highway Patrol helicopter landed and a medic apprehended the suspect after reportedly watching him attempt two carjackings.
Officer Al Romero made the arrest at gunpoint at around 4 p.m. on the side of Highway 29 near the Butler Bridge. That ended a pursuit that started in Vallejo after the suspect reportedly hit a motorcycle on Interstate 80.
Robert Shank, 42, of Napa, was arrested on suspicion of several alleged traffic offenses, including driving under the influence of drugs, said CHP Officer Garrett Ray.
Police said Shank drove his white Nissan pickup through Fairfield as a Solano County sheriff’s deputy gave chase after witnessing the collision.
Shank apparently exited at Red Top Road, traveling on surface streets before entering westbound Interstate 80 near Green Valley Road. Romero said the helicopter joined the pursuit about that time.
Authorities report that Shank then took westbound Highway 12 toward Napa, causing two accidents in the Jameson Canyon area, Ray said. Ray said he believed those two accidents did not leave anyone injured, but he said he was still sorting through various incident reports.
Romero said the deputy stopped at the scene of one of the accidents, knowing the helicopter was pursuing Shank.
“Even with no units following him, he was still driving like a maniac,” Romero said.
From there, Shank continued to northbound Highway 29, where he cut into oncoming traffic for an unknown reason near Highway 221, Ray said. That lasted until Shank’s vehicle collided head-on with another car near the Butler Bridge. The impact of that crash caused another collision with a vehicle. That second collision sent debris flying, which caused damage to a fourth vehicle, Ray said.
Romero said Shank got out of the truck and tried to carjack a motorcycle. He said the driver of the motorcycle fought of Shank, who then tried to carjack another vehicle.
Around this time, pilot Scott Ellison and Romero noticed no other units were on scene and decided to land the helicopter on a patch of grass alongside the road about 50 yards Shank.
Romero said he thwarted the second carjacking attempt and Shank began to run. Romero gave chase and Shank eventually gave up at gunpoint.
The medic said it’s rare to have to make an arrest from a helicopter, but he’s trained to do so.
“We’re still sworn officers,” he said.
Ray said the original victim from the Vallejo collision was taken to the hospital with injuries, but didn’t know his condition. He said the victim of the head-on collision near the Butler Bridge had moderate injuries.
Rush-hour traffic was affected as lanes of Highway 29 were shut down.
Reach Danny Bernardini at 427-6935 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/dbernardinidr.