Felony traffic stop of stolen vehicle temporarily halts activities at busy Hemet car wash

HEMET — Citizens trying to get their vehicles washed at a Hemet car wash had their day delayed when Hemet PD conducted a traffic stop on a stolen vehicle that pulled into the business, Wednesday afternoon, May 23.

Employees and customers at Car Wash Depot, located southwest of the intersection of N. State Street and Latham Avenue, had their activities interrupted when three men driving a dark-colored Toyota Corolla sedan pulled into the car wash followed by several Hemet PD vehicles.


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Officials armed with lethal and less-lethal weapons stand by at the ready during last Wednesday’s felony traffic stop of a stolen sedan. Hemet Valley Incidents photo

As the stolen sedan was pulling into the car wash, officials conducting the felony traffic stop put out a radio call for priority back up, requesting all available officers to the scene.

After the Toyota pulled into a parking spot at the business, officers held the trio at gunpoint while more than a dozen other Hemet PD officials – with lights flashing and sirens wailing – raced to the business.

With marked and unmarked vehicles filling the entire parking lot, uniformed patrol officers and supervisors, as well as Gang Task Force and other special teams’ members took up positions behind their vehicles, prepared to react to any perceived threat.

Officials at the scene quickly directed customers and employees out of the potential line of fire to safer areas.

With handguns, rifles, and shotguns, as well as less-lethal options such as a bean bag shotgun, pepperball rifle and Tasers pointed at the three men, officers stood at the ready while one officer began calling the driver out of the vehicle. After the man indicated that he could not understand the official’s commands, another officer took over – issuing clear, concise instructions in Spanish.

While officials called each of the vehicle’s three occupants out one at a time and took them into custody, car wash attendants, customers and other curious onlookers stopped what they were doing and watched the dramatic scene unfold in front of them.

Although the first two occupants from the vehicle listened to and followed the officers’ orders, the final man to be called from the vehicle refused to listen to officials commands in English or Spanish and seemed to be trying to push the officers’ patience.

A man who initially refused to obey officers’ repeated commands was taken into custody after being threatened to be shot with a bean bag shotgun. Hemet Valley Incidents photo

After being ordered several times to comply with the officers’ commands the man was warned that if he continued moving around and not following orders he could end up being shot with a less-lethal bean bag shotgun round.

After that warning, the suspect suddenly remembered how to listen and follow simple directions and was taken into custody without further incident.

After all three men were in handcuffs and detained in the backs of different patrol vehicles, five officers approached the sedan and cautiously checked the vehicle’s interior and trunk for anyone possibly hiding or refusing to exit the sedan.

Nearly 10 minutes after the tense felony traffic stop started, officers not needed at the business began clearing the scene and returning to their patrol and other duties, while officials still at the car wash processed the stolen vehicle and investigated the incident.

The three men were later transported to Hemet PD for further interviews and investigation. It was not immediately known if any of the trio were arrested and a jail records search revealed no booking records or information about the traffic stop.

Hemet PD has not released any information about the incident or three men taken into custody.

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Hemet Valley Incidents video


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Trevor Montgomery, 46, recently moved to Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for several other news organizations, including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, The Valley Chronicle and Anza Valley Outlook, as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and The Mountain Echo in Shasta County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations, including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center and Lake Elsinore Station, along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 27 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and has 13 children and 14 – soon to be 15 – grandchildren.