Arizona police pursuit ends with a hug, a kiss and 2 arrests

A police chase through the East Valley ended with a hug, a kiss and two arrests Wednesday evening.

The couple behind the chase were later identified as 35-year-old Dustin Perkins of Snowflake and 29-year-old Lovida Flores, the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office said.

The incident began when the Salt River Police Department notified the Mesa Police Department of a stolen vehicle, said Mesa police spokesman Detective Nikolas Rasheta.

A Mesa police officer attempted to pull over the suspected stolen vehicle near Eighth Avenue and Stapley Drive in Mesa, Rasheta said.

The driver failed to yield and Mesa police did not pursue the vehicle, Rasheta said.

From there, the SUV continued southeast.

Live video from several local television stations showed police pursuing the vehicle in an area near Queen Creek at about 6 p.m.

By then, multiple law-enforcement agencies were involved, including the Maricopa County and Pinal County sheriff’s offices, and the Mesa and Gilbert police departments, all of which were attempting to stop the vehicle, authorities said.

The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office began pursuing the vehicle at Ocotillo and Schnepf roads, near Queen Creek, said Navideh Forghani, Pinal County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman.

Live television pictures showed the driver of an SUV appeared to be erratic, at times going off-road to avoid officers, going the wrong way and running red lights, or passing traffic while driving on a shoulder.

The car was traveling on Ironwood Drive at one point.

About 6:10 p.m., the driver could be seen crashing through two fences then proceed to make maneuvers in a desert area, eventually crashing his vehicle in a ditch.

That’s when the man who was driving and a woman emerged from the vehicle and ran away in separate directions.

Before long, they returned to one another, embraced, appeared to kiss, then got down on the ground with their hands in front of them as Pinal County sheriff’s deputies surrounded them, placed them in handcuffs and led them away, the live pictures showed.

The couple will face charges of unlawful flight, reckless driving, aggressive driving, criminal damage and vehicle theft, Forghani said.

Perkins suffered a broken hand and Flores was in “serious condition,” Forghani said, adding that the two were injured when the SUV crashed.

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