A Santa Rosa man was arrested Saturday after fleeing officers in a stolen pickup and crashing into a tree, police said.
Derek Bennett, 46, ran from the 1:30 p.m. crash near Highway 12 and Mission Boulevard and was arrested with the help of police dogs a few blocks away, Sgt. Ron Nelson said.
Three passengers in an another vehicle hit by Bennett during the pursuit were not hurt, Nelson said.
"It could have been tragic," Nelson said. "It's fortunate it didn't turn out that way."
The chase started near Oliver's Market on Montecito Boulevard when officers spotted Bennett driving a Ford F-150 that was reported stolen about a week ago, Nelson said.
He refused to pull over and led officers on a chase over Middle Rincon Road to westbound Highway 12, Nelson said.
Bennett was passing slower cars on the shoulder of Highway 12 when he swerved to avoid another pickup turning right into a driveway, Nelson said.
He careened into the truck, ripping off its front wheel, before slamming into a tree, Nelson said.
The stolen truck came to rest about halfway up the tree's trunk.
Bennett hopped out and took off running, Nelson said. He was found hiding behind a shed near Prospect Avenue, Nelson said.
He was booked on charges of possession of a stolen vehicle and felony evading police, Nelson said.
Traffic on Highway 12 was reduced to one lane during the cleanup.