Ventura driver fleeing police strikes ambulance, sparking fiery crash

A driver who police say attempted to hit a highway patrol officer with his car led authorities on a pursuit that ended in a fiery blaze when he crashed into an ambulance that struck a large truck. The driver and others were injured.

Around 11 p.m. Monday, the Ventura County Police Department received a call from the California Highway Patrol requesting assistance locating a vehicle that fled patrol officers during a pursuit, according to a news release by the Ventura police department.

During the pursuit, the driver, identified as Ventura resident Ron Balden, attempted to strike a highway patrol officer with his car, according to the news release.

Highway patrol officers pursued the driver into the city of Ventura but lost sight of the car just off the 101 Freeway at the intersection of Valentine Road and Victoria Avenue.

Ventura police officers eventually located the driver, but he fled and drove through the city and back onto the freeway, according to the release.

A Ventura police supervisor canceled the pursuit when "the conditions became too dangerous to continue and officers lost sight of the vehicle."

A short time later, the car struck a Gold Coast Ambulance that was driving near a shopping center on Main Street, pushing the ambulance into a large dump truck. The ambulance and Balden's vehicle caught fire. There were no patients in the ambulance.

The occupants of all three vehicles were injured and taken to hospitals where they are listed in stable condition, according to the release.

Balden was seriously injured but is expected to recover. Authorities offered no more information about him.

The Ventura Police Department is investigating Balden on possible felony charges of evading an officer and driving under the influence.

The California Highway Patrol is investigating him on possible charges of assault with a deadly weapon against their officer.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.