The pair who were arrested following a pursuit that injured a Riverside police officer when his cruiser was rammed Thursday night have been identified.
Brittany N. Melton, 18, and Tresean J. Smith, 22, are both currently in Montgomery County Jail facing charges related to the incident.
Melton is charged with assault on a peace officer and Smith’s charge includes improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle, according to the jail site.
Riverside K-9 Officer Matt Jackson suffered minor injuries when the car Melton and Smith were in rammed the officer’s vehicle during a traffic stop. This developed into the pursuit that ended in the arrest of the two just before 9 p.m., Sgt. James Vance said.
Cruiser camera footage from the chase was obtained through a public records request by News Center 7.
He said he believes the two fled because they had a loaded firearm and narcotics in their car, all of which will be taken into evidence.
Vance said the pursuit began on Valencia Street, where the police vehicle was rammed, then proceeded to Beatrice Drive and continued north onto Harshman Road. From there, the suspect car turned onto Arrowrock Avenue and continued until it ended up in a yard off Hillstone Place.
“This is something you ever see on, like, ‘Live PD,’ ” said eyewitness Zachary Joseph, alluding to the TV series that incorporates dash cams along with fixed rig and handheld cameras to show American police work on typical Friday and Saturday nights.
Joseph said he was driving home from dinner when his passenger told him to stop because she saw a speeding car as they approached Beatrice Drive and Harshman Road.
Melton was driving the speeding car, which was being followed closely by a Riverside police vehicle, Zachary said.
“We saw the cops get out and chase her into the back yard [at the end of Hillstone Place]... they had her at gunpoint, screaming at her to get on her back,” he said.
The woman’s passenger, Smith, apparently ran into a wooded area behind the house, Zachary said. Residents told him they pointed that out to police, who captured the man after a short foot chase.
“This was just a wild experience,” Zachary said. “It wasn’t really planned out very well. This is a little tiny two-ways-in, two-ways-out neighborhood.”
“They tried to go through some backyards, through some fences and stuff,” Sgt. Vance said, noting the car belongs to one of the two people arrested and was not stolen.
He said police are likely to pursue additional charges relating to the weapon and the drugs.