A 25-year-old Valley Springs man was arrested Monday after he reportedly led law enforcement officers on a high-speed car chase through San Andreas and Mokelumne Hill.
The driver of the vehicle, Joseph Robert Westbrook, who is suspected of felony burglary, forgery and identity theft, failed to yield during a traffic stop and accelerated down Gold Strike Road, according to the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office. During the chase, Westbrook reportedly reached speeds of 100 mph while passing other vehicles over double yellow lines and rammed through two closed cattle gates after turning onto Central Hill Road. Westbrook was able to escape after striking a tree branch that fell into the path of the deputy.
Shortly after, a California Highway Patrol officer attempted to stop Westbrook’s vehicle near Mokelumne Hill. A second pursuit ended with Westbrook exiting the vehicle and fleeing into a field, where officers apprehended him, the Sheriff’s Office reported. Westbrook reportedly complained of shortness of breath and began vomiting soon after his arrest, and he was taken to a hospital for treatment before being booked into the county jail.
Court records show Westbrook was charged with second-degree burglary, forgery and identity theft in January. According to the Sheriff’s Office, he was released from the county jail on April 13 under the California Judicial Council’s COVID-19 $0 bail rule. Shortly after his release, Westbrook was reportedly identified as being responsible for multiple thefts and at least one burglary in the Valley Springs area, and a warrant was issued on May 31 for Westbrook to be arrested on felony burglary, forgery and identity theft charges.
Westbrook now faces additional charges including felony vandalism and evading police. According to the Sheriff’s Office, his new charges were eligible for $0 bail release under the statewide policy, but his pre-existing warrant was not. His bail was set at $110,000.
All cases involving Westbrook are still under investigation.