Search for hit-and-run suspect leads to lockdowns for two Tulare schools

Local News

Carlos Ruben Chavez, 37 (Tulare County Sheriff’s Office)

TULARE, California (KSEE/KGPE) – A Tulare high school and elementary school was on lockdown Friday after deputies and officers searched for a driver who was driving erratically and ran off into a nearby neighborhood, Tulare County Sheriff’s Office said.

A deputy saw a vehicle driving recklessly down Morrison Street, just south of Bardsley Avenue, around 8 a.m., spokeswoman Ashley Schwarm said. The suspect crashed his car into another moving vehicle then drove off as the deputy turned around.

The suspect crashed his car into a fence after the deputy tried to pull him over.

The fence separates Alpine Vista Elementary School from a nearby neighborhood, Schwarm said. He jumped over the fence and ran onto campus.

Tulare Police immediately placed Alpine Vista and Mission Oaks High School on lockdown after they received calls at the same time about a man with a gun on the Alpine Vista campus.

The suspect went back into the neighborhood after running across the school grounds, Schwarm said.

Deputies and officers then activated their drones, which alerted them to where the suspect was hiding.

The lockdown was lifted after authorities located the suspect, Carlos Ruben Chavez, 37, who was hiding in a backyard of a home on the 2500 block of East Kaiser Creek Avenue, Schwarm said.

Authorities determined that the suspect’s vehicle was reported stolen out of the Porterville area.

Chavez was arrested and faces charges of hit and run, stolen vehicle and evading officers.

Officers checked the schools and nearby neighborhoods and no weapon was found.

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