Just after 4 p.m., reports came in to 911 that a car had crashed off the embankment at the southeast corner of Road 200 and Road 211, across from the Spring Valley School.
The 2002 Honda Accord had been reported stolen from the Valero in Yosemite Lakes Park, according to CHP. The vehicle was reportedly crashed on Yosemite Springs Parkway but the driver continued south on Highway 41 and onto Road 200, where he crashed again.
Witnesses reported that Ealand got out of the wrecked Honda, then ran south on Road 211, climbed the barbed wire fence on the west side of the road and ran into the pasture.
Meanwhile, the Honda caught fire, and when firefighters arrived it was fully engulfed in flames, about 25 feet down the embankment up against a fence. The fire spread into the surrounding dry grass, but firefighters contained it to about a 50 x 50′ spot.
CHP and Sheriff’s deputies set up a perimeter and began searching for the driver. CHP’s H40 helicopter was called in to assist, along with Madera County Sheriff’s K9 Team Deputy Eric Jackson and Belgian Malinois Gastone.
According to witnesses, the driver took off the sweatshirt he was wearing and dropped it as he ran into the field, which gave K9 Gastone a scent to track.
At about 5:10 p.m., Deputy Jackson and K9 Gastone located Ealand hiding in the bushes in a creek bed just southwest of the location of the crash. He was detained by law enforcement and identified by a witness as the driver who fled the scene.
Ealand was treated by Sierra Ambulance personnel for what were described by CHP as “significant dog bites,” then transported to Madera Community Hospital for a medical clearance before being booked into the Madera Department of Corrections on suspicion of driving a stolen vehicle, resisting arrest and hit and run. He is being held on a $25,000 bond.
The investigation by CHP is still ongoing.