Carjacking suspect arrested after VC pursuit


Police responded to the area of Victoria Avenue and Thille Street in Ventura around 8:55 p.m. Sunday, after a report of a carjacking.

Investigators say the victim was driving her pickup truck when she became involved in a verbal confrontation with a female passenger in her vehicle. Her passenger was later identified as Denise Morales, 32, of Santa Paula.

According to authorities, Morales began to strike the victim repeatedly as she was driving. When the unidentified victim stopped driving to avoid a collision, Morales assaulted the victim and jumped into the driver's seat.

The victim tried to stop Morales but became entangled in the seatbelt. Police say she was dragged a short distance before she was able to free herself.

Morales fled the scene in the victim's vehicle.

Responding officers transported the unidentified victim to the Ventura County Medical Center with moderate, non-life threatening injuries.

A Santa Paula officer later observed the stolen pickup truck near Santa Paula Street and Steckel Drive around 2:30 a.m. Sunday.

The pickup immediately fled from the officer and a pursuit was initiated.

The suspect led officers onto westbound Highway 126 into the city of Ventura before heading southbound on Highway 33 and exiting Rose Avenue on the southbound 101 Freeway.

The pursuit continued through the streets of Oxnard before a high-risk stop was conducted near Pleasant Valley and Saviors Road.

The carjacking suspect, Morales, was found to be a passenger in the vehicle. She was arrested and booked into the Ventura County Jail for carjacking, assault with a deadly weapon and a parole warrant.

The driver, identified as Jason Castillo, 27, of Santa Paula, was booked for felony evading of police.

No officers or civilians were injured. The incident remains under investigation.

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