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Taft Midway Driller - Taft, CA
  • Woman arrested after pursuit, but warrant suspect eludes deputies

  • High-speed chase starts in Taft, goes through Temblors to California Valley
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  • Kern County Sheriff's deputies made an arrest at the end of a high-speed chase that started in Taft and ran into eastern San Luis Obispo County Sunday night, but they didn't get the man they were looking for.
    The suspected driver, Michael Kightlinger, wanted on a warrant for spousal abuse, child endangerment and threatening a witness or victim, escaped.
    However, a California Valley woman, believed to be a passenger, and owner of a truck the deputies pursued from the ground and air, was arrested in California Valley late Sunday.
    Dawn Morales-Preast, 49 was booked into the Sheriff's central receiving facility in Bakersfield. She is charged with being an accessory to a crime and for having false license plates on a vehicle.
    Morales-Preast was believed to be a passenger in the red pickup that fled from a deputy trying to make a traffic stop in Ford City.
    Sheriff's Sgt. Martin Downs said a patrolling deputy saw a man believed to be Kightlinger, 38, a Taft man wanted on a warrant, driving the pickup.
    When he tried to make a traffic stop, the truck fled at a high rate of speed, heading north on Lincoln Street to Midway Road then fleeing west on Midway Road through Fellows to Mocal Road, then west on Mocal and onto Crocker Springs Road in the Temblors.
    A Sheriff's helicopter arrived on scene and tracked the vehicle north into the Temblors, then west into California Valley to a home just south of Highway 58 in California Valley.
    Kern County deputies were joined by San Luis Obispo County deputies on the ground and they surrounded the house and brought the occupants out.
    It is unknown where or when Kightlinger fled, Downs said.
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