Updated at 2:35 p.m. Feb. 16, 2012
The man whose abandoned car led to the Valentine’s Day rush-hour mess on La Mesa freeways and roads was arrested Wednesday in Arizona after a high-speed chase and crash, according to news reports.
The Desert Valley Times said Harvey Henry Duson, 46, was taken to Mesa View Regional Hospital in Mesquite, AZ, after complaining of back and neck pain.
Duson was sought in connection with the violent home invasion robbery of Metropolitan Transit System Chairman Harry Mathis, 78, a former San Diego city councilman.
Duson was arrested on Interstate 15 about eight miles from the Arizona-Nevada state line, Arizona Highway Patrol officials told the newspaper.
Weeks of interviews and analysis of crime-scene evidence led detectives
to deem Duson as a suspect in the robbery Tuesday afternoon, shortly before
the freeway standoff, said San Diego police Capt. Terry McManus.
Duson, whose last known residence was in El Cajon, was released from
state prison about a year ago, after serving half of a 32-year sentence he'd
received for an armed robbery in Lemon Grove.
That August 1993 crime led to a confrontation during which a deputy opened fire on Duson, wounding him, McManus said.
U-T San Diego said Duson is suspected of being one of three masked men who forced their way into the University City home of Mathis, 78, and his wife on Jan. 11, quoting McManus.
In Arizona, Sgt. John Bottoms of the Highway Patrol was quoted as saying: “It was scary because they were running at 100 mph. There is a risk with wet pavement like this—hydroplaning, losing control of your car, and you cannot see, even with windshield wipers going, at that speed. He has no idea how fortunate he is that he survived this.”
Duson eluded arrest in San Diego on Tuesday afternoon after police got word
that his car had broken down on Interstate 8 just east of La Mesa.
Officers surrounded the disabled Pontiac Grand Prix near Severin Drive
and blocked off all but one eastbound lane in the area, unsure if Duson
remained in the sedan, which had heavily tinted windows.
Rush-hour traffic slowed to a crawl for miles west of the stalemate for
about two hours, until officers smashed the windows of the vehicle and pried
open its trunk, finding nobody inside.
City News Service contributed to this report.