Two arrested between two hit-and-run crashes, two shootings over the weekend

SANTA CRUZ (BCN)—Two people were arrested between two hit-and-run crashes and two shootings during the Labor Day holiday weekend in Santa Cruz, police said today.

The first crash was reported shortly before 11:30 p.m. Friday when a car went into Betty’s Burgers at 505 Seabright Ave., police said.

Responding officers found a gold Buick Century crashed into the east side of the eatery that was closed for the day, according to police.

No injuries were reported.

Witnesses saw four people leave the scene in different directions, police said.

While at the scene the car’s owner contacted police to report that the 18-year-old Santa Cruz driver was fleeing from someone chasing after him and crashed into the building, according to police.

The driver spoke with officers and told them that people in a white Dodge Charger were trying to shoot him, police said.

The 18-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of DUI and hit-and-run, according to police.

Investigators believe the crash may be related to a shooting near Seabright Avenue and Hall Street based on evidence collected at the scene, police said.

A victim from the suspected gang-related shooting was reportedly at Dominican Hospital shortly before 1 a.m. Saturday, according to police.

The victim suffered an injury not considered life-threatening and didn’t cooperate with the investigation, police said.

Another suspected gang-related shooting was reported at about 12:10 a.m. Saturday in the first block of Chestnut Street, where officers learned someone had fired shots from a moving car in a cul-de-sac of an apartment complex, according to police.

No injuries were reported.

Responding officers found multiple casings and were told by witnesses that a light-colored sedan sped away from the scene, police said.

The fourth incident happened around 11:30 p.m. Saturday, when officers were notified of a possible hit-and-run collision involving a van on Delaware Avenue and Swift Street, according to police.

The suspect driver purposely struck 15 street signs, traveled erratically, tailgated, and flashed a bright light behind another car, police said.

An officer saw the van and attempted to pull it over, but the driver sped away and led a pursuit onto Water Street, according to police.

The chase continued to state Highway 17 where California Highway Patrol Santa Cruz area officers followed the suspect, police said.

The pursuit ended at a dead end in Santa Clara where CHP San Jose area officers and Santa Clara County sheriff’s deputies surrounded the driver, according to police.

The suspect was identified as 38-year-old Christopher Ellebracht of Cupertino who was arrested without further incident, police said.

In all, the police department responded to 1,131 calls over the weekend.

Anyone with information on the cases is asked to call police investigators at (831) 420-5820.

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