Parolee nabbed after citywide chase 

A parolee driving a stolen minivan wildly through The City during rush hour led police on a chase that ended after a tire on the vehicle went flat and he fled on foot into Golden Gate Park, police say.

The parolee, 36-year-old San Francisco resident Barron Cusick, was taken into custody after police managed to tackle him near Seventh Avenue and Fulton Street following a chase that included Cusick driving the wrong way on a one-way street.

The incident began in the Mission district near 17th and Sanchez streets when cameras mounted on top of a police car scanned the green Toyota minivan’s license plate and recognized it as a stolen vehicle, police Officer Boaz Mariles said.

Officers started to follow the van when Cusick sped off dangerously. Per police policy, they didn’t pursue him in order not to endanger lives. But a few minutes later, other officers spotted the same vehicle near Clinton Park and Guerrero Street.

Cusick apparently spotted them too, and sped away again — this time running a red light. The car was T-boned in the middle of the intersection by another vehicle. Instead of stopping, Cusick gunned his gas and raced toward a pedestrian, Mariles said.

At that point, police began to pursue the van in earnest. According to officers who reported on the chase over their police radios, the chase included driving the wrong way down a one-way street and caused several smaller accidents as cars swerved and screeched to a halt to avoid the minivan.

Police chased Cusick north and then turned  west through the Fillmore district. As the police chased the vehicle from Fulton Street past Alamo Square, they called for Richmond district police to set up a spike strip down the road to pop the minivan’s tires. But they didn’t need to go to the trouble — the minivan’s tire popped on its own around Ashbury and Fulton streets.

Cusick continued to drive on the tire — the vehicle slowed to about 20 mph — all the way into the Richmond before jumping out of the car and trying to run into Golden Gate Park. Police ultimately tackled and detained him.

Cusick was booked on charges of possession of a stolen vehicle, failing to yield, a hit-and-run, and assault with a deadly weapon.

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Katie Worth

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