Banning DUI pursuit leads to arrest of man with prior DUI

BANNING, Calif. — A man with at least one prior DUI conviction was arrested again for DUI after leading Gang Task Force officials on a dangerous pursuit in the Banning area Thursday evening, Oct. 22.

Although the chase was terminated for officer and citizen safety reasons, Gang Task Force members eventually located the vehicle that fled, along with a man who investigating officers say was driving the vehicle that fled from them.


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Region 2 members of the San Gorgonio Special Operations Regional Gang Task Force were in the area of W. Wilson and 8th streets in the City of Banning around 10 p.m., “when they observed a vehicle failing to stop at several stop signs and traveling at a high rate of speed,” Region 2 Gang Task Force Sergeant Mike Bennett has since reported.

Although Task Force members attempted to conduct a traffic enforcement stop on the vehicle, the driver failed to yield and attempted to speed away from officials.

“The vehicle began driving erratically and almost collided into other vehicles on the roadway,” Bennet described.

Antonio Ortega was arrested after leading Gang Task Force officers on a pursuit Thursday evening, Oct. 22.

During the pursuit, Task Force members came to believe the driver of the vehicle was possibly under the influence of alcohol or drugs “based on the driver’s actions during the pursuit,” said Bennet.

As the pursuit continued, the vehicle fled onto a dirt road; where, due to the amount of dust being thrown up by the fleeing vehicle, officials terminated the chase for safety reasons.

Although officials had terminated the pursuit they continued searching the area for the vehicle, eventually locating it in the 4000 block of Mias Canyon Rd. in an unincorporated area of Banning.

Officials also found a man with the vehicle, identified as Antonio Joseph Ortega, 26, of Banning, and determined he had been the person who fled from Task Force officials.

“There were no injuries or damage to property during the incident,” said Bennet.


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Based on their investigation Task Force officials arrested Ortega and he was booked into the Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility in Banning early the next morning on suspicion of felony evading, driving under the influence, and driving on a suspended license for DUI.

Online jail records indicate Ortega was released within hours of being booked into jail after posting $100,000 bail or bond. He is scheduled to be arraigned at an unspecified court Feb. 23.

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Contact the writer:

Trevor Montgomery, 49, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, (the now defunct) Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and 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 30 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 18 grandchildren.