Modesto, CA - Accident Scene -Woman Jumps Into Stanislaus Sheriff's Deputy Patrol Car - Steals Patrol Car With Emergency Lights On - Pursuit Onto Highway - Finally Surrendered

May 10, 2016

A 47-year-old Modesto woman remained jailed Tuesday, accused of hopping into a deputy’s vehicle Monday night and driving off before authorities pulled her over on Highway 99 near Ceres.

Rita Dedios Armenta was booked into Stanislaus County Jail on charges of car theft, receiving stolen property and evading arrest. Bail was set at $50,000.

At about 10:30 p.m., a county Sheriff’s Department deputy was assisting the Modesto Police Department with traffic control following a collision at Yosemite Boulevard and South Riverside Drive.

The deputy was out of the vehicle, which was left running with the overhead emergency lights on so oncoming traffic would slow, according to Sgt. Anthony Bejaran, spokesman for the Sheriff’s Department. The vehicle, however, was not locked.

Armenta jumped in and drove off toward Mitchell Road. Minutes later, authorities saw the vehicle at Mitchell and Fowler Road in Ceres, about three miles from the accident. Armenta refused to yield to officers, and they gave pursuit.

She headed south to East Whitmore Avenue, then west and got on northbound Highway 99 with the emergency lights on. Minutes later, she stopped the vehicle and surrendered, Bejaran said.

Bejaran said Armenta had no involvement in the accident at Yosemite and Riverside. Officers were trying to get a statement from her late Monday.

Armenta – who also is known as Rita De Dios – has a long history with law enforcement, including a trespassing and possession charge in March after she climbed the railroad signal towner off I Street between Eighth and Ninth streets and had to be rescued by Modesto firefighters using a ladder truck.