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Motorhome driver leads deputies on chase at Lake Tahoe

August 28, 2018

This booking photo provided by the Douglas County Sheriff's Office shows Christopher Debastiani of Alturas, Calif., Monday, Aug. 27, 2018. Debastiani, the driver of a Lake Tahoe motorhome led officers on a wild mountain highway chase that reached speeds of 80 mph before he crashed into a building about 30 miles away and was arrested, authorities said Monday. Debastiani has been booked on suspicion of about a dozen charges, including assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer. (Douglas County Sheriff's Office via AP)

GARDNERVILLE, Nev. (AP) — The driver of a Lake Tahoe motorhome led officers on a wild mountain highway chase that reached speeds of 80 mph before he crashed into a building about 30 miles away and was arrested, authorities said Monday.

The driver of the 1997 Airstream ran red lights, swerved toward two deputies, drove around a pair of roadblocks and through spike strips during the chase that began late Sunday, Douglas County deputies said.

Christopher Debastiani of Alturas, California, has been booked on suspicion of about a dozen charges, including assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer.

Deputies pursued the motorhome after it entered Stateline from California on U.S. Highway 50 with no headlights, going 55 mph (88 kph) in a 35 mph (56 kph) zone, the sheriff’s office said.

They say the driver of the motorhome refused to stop and drove as fast as 80 mph (128 kph) while swerving across the double yellow line.

The chase passed Cave Rock on Tahoe’s west shore, went over Spooner Summit, then veered south onto U.S. Highway 395 on the edge of Carson City.

The Nevada Highway Patrol and Carson City sheriff’s deputies helped deploy spike strips, and the vehicle’s tires began to tear away. But Debastiani kept driving on the wheel rims, showering the road with sparks, authorities said.

He eventually crashed into a building in Gardnerville. Debastiani resisted officers who tried to remove him from the vehicle but eventually was arrested and taken to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries, deputies said.

Debastiani later was booked into the county jail in Minden, where his bail was set Monday at $102,082.

Other charges include DUI and reckless driving, speeding, destruction of property and obstructing/resisting a peace officer. It’s not clear if he has a lawyer or will be appointed one at a pending court appearance.

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