Underage teens rob Orcutt group home, flee in stolen van

A pair of teens violently robbed an Orcutt group home early Tuesday morning, then stole a vehicle and led officers on a chase that ultimately led to a multi-vehicle accident south of Buellton, which involved a patrol car.

Shortly before 6:30 a.m., two teenage males, ages 14 and 15, entered a group home in the 4600 block of South Bradley Road. The suspects confronted a female employee with a knife and demanded the keys to a car owned by the group home, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office.

One of the suspects allegedly choked the victim with a chain until she relinquished the keys. The suspects then entered a white van and fled the scene.

Shortly afterwards, the CHP received reckless driving reports about a vehicle that matched the description of the stolen van. A sheriff’s deputy spotted the suspects’ vehicle traveling southbound on Highway 101 passing Highway 246 and began pursuing the van.

CHP officers and other deputies then joined in on the chase.

While driving recklessly, the suspect behind the wheel struck a pickup truck and continued on. At the summit of the Nojoqui Grade, the suspect lost control of the vehicle and drove off the roadway, causing the tires of the van to flatten.

The suspect still continued to drive, but shortly afterwards, the van became disabled and pulled into the center divider.

Deputies arrived and arrested the teens on charges of robbery, vehicle theft, felony evading law enforcement, felony child endangerment and fleeing the scene of an accident. Following a medical evaluation, the suspects were booked into juvenile hall.

Shortly after the case arrests, a CHP officer was involved in a collision with several unrelated vehicles that had slowed because of issues with the chase.