Driver, child injured after traffic stop turns into pursuit in Paso

A routine traffic stop in Paso Robles turned into a vehicle pursuit that left the driver seriously injured and a child moderately injured Saturday evening.

About 7:27 p.m., a CHP officer stopped a white BMW at Highway 46 East and Golden Hill Road, according to a CHP news release. At the same time, Clark Cowans, 32, of Paso Robles, drove his 2004 Ford to the right shoulder 200 feet in front of the BMW.

For unknown reasons, Cowans — who also had his 5-year-old daughter in the vehicle — slowly backed his car into the BMW, the CHP says. The officer asked Cowans for his information and for him to stay in his vehicle while the officer recorded it.

After another officer arrived on scene, Cowans drove away. The second officer pursued Cowans on Golden Hill Road north of Creston Road, where Cowans “seemed agitated and angry about the situation,” according to the news release.

Cowans once again fled in his vehicle and led the officer into downtown Paso Robles before crashing into a dirt embankment on the west side of Chestnut Street.

The car’s occupants were taken to Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo. Cowans had major injuries, and his daughter suffered moderate injuries to her chest, according to the news release.

Sierra Vista spokesman Ron Yukelson said Cowans was later taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital in serious condition. Yukelson said Sunday the daughter is in fair condition.

The CHP does not suspect Cowans was under the influence of alcohol or narcotics at the time of the incident.