Couple watch their stolen car get wrecked

A husband and wife saw a man steal their car Wednesday morning and then followed it, watching as the car got involved in a hit and run and then led police on a brief pursuit through Contra Costa County, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Officers responded to a report of a stolen vehicle at 8:26 a.m. near Vine Hill and Pacheco, two unincorporated areas in Contra Costa County, said CHP Officer John Fransen. Fransen said the couple called 911 and then began following the suspect while updating the agency’s dispatch of the suspect’s location.

They watched as the suspect got involved in a hit and run collision with another vehicle, Fransen said. A CHP motorcycle officer caught up the stolen car near an off-ramp for state Highway 4, but Fransen said the car drove away from the officer.

Fransen said the officer then chased the car in a brief pursuit, which ended when the suspect crashed into a heavy-duty utility truck at the intersection of Railroad and Bliss avenues in Pittsburg.

The CHP officer arrested the man, identified as Frank Mercado, 31, of Antioch, on suspicion of grand theft auto, fleeing the scene of a traffic collision and evading law enforcement officers.