Two men who allegedly stole a backpack and rammed a truck with their van in Marin County this afternoon were arrested after a pursuit along U.S. Highway 101. Marin County sheriff’s Lt. Barry Heying said two men grabbed a backpack off the shoulder of a woman who was seated in her car on North San Pedro Road in China Camp State Park around 2 p.m.
The men fled in a white Ford van, but two Marin County Department of Public Works employees saw the robbery and tried to block the van with their truck, Heying said. The van rammed the truck and escaped. Neither the woman nor the public works employees were injured, Heying said.
Marin County sheriff’s deputies tried to stop the van on North San Pedro Road near Schmidt Lane, Heying said, and the van stopped briefly but sped away. California Highway Patrol patrol cars and a helicopter joined the pursuit in Novato, CHP Officer Jonathan Sloat said. Heying said the van traveled 80-90 mph on the freeway. The van exited the highway at Petaluma Boulevard South, drove through a parking lot, struck a Marin County sheriff’s vehicle and re-entered northbound Highway 101, Sloat said.
At 2:20 p.m., the driver lost control of the van just north of East Washington Street, ran off the east side of the freeway and overturned several times in a field, Sloat said. The collision damaged 50 feet of fence and left the van 100 feet from the roadway, Sloat said.
The occupants of the van, Jerry Campbell, 31, and Sherman Dunn, 40, of Oakland, suffered minor injuries and were taken to Petaluma Valley Hospital, Sloat said. Heying said Campbell is a 33-year-old Alameda resident and Dunn is 39 years old. They face charges of robbery, reckless driving, assault with a deadly weapon and failing to stop for peace officers, Heying said. It was unclear who was driving the van, and whether it was stolen is still under investigation, Sloat said.
In addition to charges in Marin County, the two men might be charged with reckless evasion in Sonoma County, Sloat said. Heying said deputies recovered items from the backpack, including a purse and cellphones, that were thrown out the van’s window during the pursuit.
The CHP issued a Sig-alert during the pursuit, and heavy traffic was backed up on both sides of the freeway even though all lanes remained open, the CHP said. Traffic returned to normal around 4:15 p.m., the CHP said.
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