A man stole an unattended Sonoma County Fire District pickup from a Windsor fire station earlier this week and drove it recklessly on Highway 101 before crashing into a tree north of Healdsburg, officials said.
The suspect, identified as Jesse Denver Bacon, a 38-year-old homeless man, ran away after the Thursday afternoon crash and was later found hiding in bushes near the highway on-ramp, where he was detained, the Healdsburg Police Department said in a news release.
While in custody, Bacon then began to show signs of an overdose and was given Narcan, medication that reverses the effects of opioid drugs, the agency said.
Bacon was taken to Sutter Santa Rosa Medical Center by ambulance. He was cited by the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office, which assumed responsibility over the case because Bacon was located in their jurisdiction, Healdsburg Officer Kristen Dean said on Saturday.
Bacon was cited for felony possession of a stolen vehicle while at the hospital, Sonoma County sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Juan Valencia said.
Healdsburg police first became aware of the theft at about 4:30 p.m. Thursday when dispatchers received several calls about a Sonoma County Fire District-issued pickup that was being driven recklessly on Highway 101 north, leading callers to believe the vehicle was stolen, authorities said. The truck that was stolen was assigned to a deputy fire marshal with the fire district, Fire District Division Chief and Fire Marshal Cyndi Foreman said. It had been left unattended with the keys inside at the Old Redwood Highway fire station in Windsor while the employee went inside the station Thursday afternoon, Foreman said.
“It was a momentary lapse of judgment, not department practice,” Foreman said of the employee.
Bacon drove recklessly through parts of Windsor before going north on Highway 101, prompting a police chase, officials said.
Bacon then exited the highway at Lytton Springs Road, where he crashed into a tree and continued to flee on foot, police said. Officers found Bacon a short while later and gave him Narcan after noticing he showed signs of an overdose, the police department said.
The pickup was left with major front end damage, Foreman said.