High-speed chase involving car suspected in burglary ends with crash in Atascadero, CHP says

The driver of a car believed to be connected to a San Luis Obispo burglary led authorities on a high-speed chase before crashing into a tree in Atascadero early Thursday morning, the CHP said.

At about 2 a.m., San Luis Obispo police officers were dispatched to the Ulta Beauty store in Madonna Plaza for a burglary, Police Capt. Jeff Smith said. The person who reported the burglary described the vehicle to police as a two-door Ford Thunderbird-style car.

“We had one officer observe a vehicle on Highway 101 traveling northbound that matched that description,” Smith said. “He attempted a traffic stop, but the vehicle failed to yield.”

The officer attempted the traffic stop at the base of the Cuesta Grade, Smith said. Though it initially looked like the car was going to pull over, it continued northbound on Highway 101. The officer then turned off his lights and continued to follow the vehicle “at a safe distance,” Smith said. Police put information out to the CHP and Atascadero police that they were following a possible burglary suspect.

The police officer lost sight of the vehicle near Santa Margarita, Smith said.

CHP officers saw the vehicle north of Santa Margarita on El Camino Real and tried to stop it, according to a news release from the CHP. The driver of the car didn’t yield to authorities, and got onto northbound Highway 101 with the CHP following.

Speeds during the pursuit reached more than 100 mph, the CHP said.

The driver got off the freeway at Curbaril Avenue, then “traveled over the freeway” and got back on Highway 101, going north in the southbound lanes, the CHP said. The vehicle then went off the road and struck a tree on the Morro Road on-ramp to southbound Highway 101, the CHP said.

Atascadero police surrounded the car while CHP officers took the driver, identified as 41-year-old Selena Monique Grijalva of San Jose, into custody, according to the news release.

Grijalva was taken to the San Luis Obispo County Jail on suspicion of charges including felony evading an officer and reckless driving. She is being held in lieu of $25,000 bail, according to jail records.

Smith said the suspect in the Ulta burglary was described as a man, and “we don’t believe at this time that this was the same individual who committed the burglary.” He added that police are still investigating the incident.

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Gabby Ferreira is a breaking news and general assignment reporter at The Tribune in San Luis Obispo. A native of Houston, Texas, she was a reporter in Tucson, Arizona; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Palm Springs, California, before moving to San Luis Obispo County in 2016.