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June 28, 2022

Updated: 2 of 3 suspects were minors in kidnapping

A single-vehicle accident stemming from an afternoon kidnapping
in Salinas sent two people to the hospital and stopped traffic in
both directions on Highway 156 between San Juan Bautista and
Hollister around 4 p.m. Friday.
A single-vehicle accident stemming from an afternoon kidnapping in Salinas sent two people to the hospital and stopped traffic in both directions on Highway 156 between San Juan Bautista and Hollister around 4 p.m. Friday.

The accident occurred after witnesses described three armed suspects kidnapping one man and driving off in the victim’s gold 1999 Mitsubishi Galant at 545 East Alisal St. in Salinas, said Sgt. Dave Murray of the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office.

The three suspects, all from Salinas, “pistol-whipped” the 31-year-old victim and forced him into his own car before heading toward Hollister, according to a Salinas Police Department statement.

The three suspects included Jesus Flores, 19, and two juveniles, ages 16 and 18, according to the police statement. The suspects all had gang-related histories at the Salinas Police Department.

The suspects, with the victim inside, fled northbound on Highway 101 before Monterey sheriff deputies spotted them. The suspects continued eastbound onto Highway 156, where deputies from Monterey and San Benito counties – and officers from the Salinas Police Department and the California Highway Patrol – tried to pull them over at The Alameda at San Juan Bautista.

Avoiding capture, the suspects drove on the dirt on the side of the highway. Going more than 90 mph, the driver lost control, crossed lanes and flipped the car.

The car finally rested more than 20 yards from the highway.

It sent two people to the hospital, including the victim, and drew the attention of more than 10 police vehicles and two emergency helicopters. Flores was also injured the incident and was sent to the hospital for care before being handed over to police custody.

The other two suspects were arrested on scene and complained of no injuries, Murray said.

After the accident, the 16-year-old suspect tried to flee but was quickly apprehended, Murray said. Police found a handgun in the car that is believed to be the weapon used to kidnap the victim and steal the car.

The victim was flown to a Bay Area hospital and he is expected to survive his injuries, a Salinas Police Department spokesman said.

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