Man arrested after leading cops on chase through Coachella

COACHELLA, Calif. - A 21-year-old man who led deputies on a chase following a fight and an outbreak of gunfire in Coachella was behind bars today and facing possible felony evading and weapons-related charges.

Omar Mendez of Coachella was arrested around 4:20 p.m. Wednesday, said Riverside County sheriff's Sgt. Robert Bishop.

Deputies responding to the 50400 block of Avenue Adobe on a report of people fighting and shots fired were told the suspect fled in a silver Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck, Bishop said.

A deputy on patrol spotted the vehicle as it sped away from the area and attempted to make a traffic stop but Mendez wouldn't pull over, prompting a chase, he said.

"Deputies pursued the Chevrolet at high speeds south on Harrison Street until it ran off the road at Avenue 70th and Polk Street in Mecca," Bishop said.

Mendez abandoned the pickup and ran into a dense orange grove, but deputies surrounded the area and eventually took him into custody, Bishop said. He was booked into the Riverside County Jail in Indio on suspicion of felony evading and being a felon in possession of ammunition and a baton, he said.

Deputies were unable to locate a firearm after searching the pursuit route and the area where the fight took place, Bishop said, adding that one other person was detained, questioned and released due to insufficient evidence, Bishop said.

Mendez was jailed in lieu of $100,000 bail and was due in court on Friday in Indio, according to sheriff's online jail records.

A sheriff's patrol car hit a cinder block building during the chase, causing minor damage, Bishop said.

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