A Torrance man was arrested Thursday night after leading deputies on a high-speed chase near New Cuyama, attempting to steal a patrol car, assaulting a police dog and injuring sheriff’s deputies, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office.
Around 11 p.m., deputies assigned to the New Cuyama Station responded to a report of a wrong-way driver on Highway 166 near New Cuyama.
Deputies located the vehicle on Highway 166 near the center of town and attempted to stop the vehicle. After initially yielding, the driver — identified as Louis Lovallo, 20, of Torrance — accelerated and began to recklessly evade deputies on Highway 166, according to sheriff’s officials. Deputies continued to pursue Lovallo at which point he drove off the highway into a farm field off Highway 166.
Due to the off-road terrain, Lovallo’s vehicle became disabled multiple times as he continued to flee, officials said.
A K-9 deputy and other sheriff’s deputies from the Santa Maria station, as well as Kern County sheriff’s officials and California Highway Patrol officers from the Bakersfield office, responded to assist.
Lovallo allegedly fled from deputies on foot and attempted to steal a nearby Santa Barbara County sheriff’s patrol car by breaking its window with a rock.
A perimeter was established and Lovallo was located hiding nearby. He violently resisted arrest, according to officials, and assaulted police dog Magnum but was ultimately subdued by deputies and arrested. Two sheriff’s deputies suffered minor injuries during the struggle, and Magnum also has recovered, a sheriff’s spokeswoman said.
Due to mechanical issues with the vehicle, and Lovallo possibly lighting a cigarette in the brush, his vehicle caught fire and later became fully engulfed. Personnel from the Santa Barbara County Fire Department responded and quickly knocked down the fire with no other damage.
After being cleared at Marian Regional Medical Center, Lovallo was transported and booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail for DUI (drugs), felony evading a peace officer, resisting arrest with force, attempted carjacking, attempted vehicle theft, vandalism, trespassing, assaulting a police dog and driving without a license.
Bail was set at $75,000.