Police/FireLog: SLO man leads deputies on chase; smoky conditions caused by controlled fire; $2 million in damage in new-home fire in AG

South County

A San Luis Obispo man was arrested on several felony charges Wednesday morning when he allegedly slammed his car into a Sheriff’s Department cruiser after leading deputies on a 10-mile chase.

Sheriff’s deputies say Ricardo Bernal Ruiz, 29, was weaving as he drove south on Highway 101 between San Luis Bay Drive and Avila Beach Drive about 2:30 a.m.

Deputies tried to stop Ruiz, sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Brian Hascall said, but he continued and exited on Five Cities Drive.

He sped through several red lights and stop signs, Hascall said, before stopping in a driveway on Manhattan Avenue in Grover Beach. Before exiting his 1988 Honda Accord, Ruiz backed the car into one deputy’s vehicle, Hascall said.

The deputy was not injured. Ruiz was taken to Arroyo Grande Community Hospital, where he was treated for minor injuries.

Ruiz was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, assault with a deadly weapon, felony resistance of an officer with threat of violence, felony evasion and reckless driving. He was also arrested on suspicion of driving on a suspended license and parole violations, Hascall said.

He remained at County Jail Wednesday night on $25,000 bail.

SLO County

Smoke drifted across the Cuesta Grade on Wednesday as County/Cal Fire crews conducted a 230-acre controlled burn at Camp San Luis Obispo.

Capt. Tony Ramirez said firefighters started the burn about 9:30 a.m. on installation property. By 4:30 p.m., crews had extinguished the fire, he said.

Arroyo Grande

Oil-soaked rags caused more than $2 million in damage Wednesday morning when they sparked a fire that destroyed a brand-new home, County/Cal Fire officials said.

Crews who responded to the site of the 4,500-square-foot home on Mission Springs at 12:15 a.m. found the unfinished structure in flames. It took firefighters about an hour to contain the blaze, and crews remained on the scene for much of Wednesday.

The home was unoccupied, officials said.

Investigators determined that heat from rags soaked in wood finish caused them to spontaneously catch fire.

Cuesta Grade

A spark from a catalytic converter started a half-acre fire Wednesday afternoon on the Cuesta Grade near Stagecoach Road, County/Cal Fire officials said.

No injuries or damage were reported in the fire, which started about noon near Stagecoach Road, officials said. Crews contained the blaze by 12:35 p.m.

—Stephen Curran

Related stories from San Luis Obispo Tribune