Clovis resident whose car was used in police chase talks
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The victim whose car was stolen Thursday night at a Clovis Jiffy Lube as part of a wild police chase is sharing his story with Action News.
The chase began when U.S. Marshals spotted a parolee at an apartment complex in Fresno, near cedar and white streets. It ended when the man crashed in Tulare County, but there was plenty of action before that.
Joe Garcia went to get his car serviced Thursday before his big vacation this weekend. So, while his wife went to Costco, he took the car to Jiffy Lube. As he paid, he noticed a commotion, and his wife hollering in the parking lot.
Garcia, his wife, and everyone else watched as this man, Kerry Binger sped through the parking lot and then headed south, sideswiping cars, and according to police speeding most of the time.
A stunned Garcia was even more frustrated when he remembered the car had a full tank of gas and fresh oil change. But, his biggest concern was that Binger could only see in front of him by sticking his head out the window.
Garcia said, "And he was pursued and he had the hood up. Driving with the hood up and scaring people."
The crime spree came to an end when the suspect crashed into a water tanker. Police used a public address system in the Skywatch helicopter to warn motorists to stay away from Binger. He was arrested after he tried to run.
U.S. Marshalls were already tracking binger when they watched him jump into the Nissan Maxima.
The 49-year-old suspect has been wanted for violating federal parole. He has evaded investigators since March. Authorities were on his trail Thursday, but he kept getting away. He even ran into another car at Maple and Dakota, before his car finally broke down near Costco.
Garcia says Jiffy Lube mechanics left the keys in the ignition and were about to show him the work they did when Binger seized the opportunity.
Friday Garcia said he still can't believe this all began with a simple oil change.
"For something to happen like this, it was shocking," said Garcia. "You know especially for my wife. And i looked and like wow, we're a statistic now."
A Jiffy Lube spokesperson says the company regrets what's happened and are working with their loyal customer. They also told Action News they are reviewing the current procedures for handling car keys.
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