Location: Sweet Avenue and Dinuba Boulevard, Visalia

Incident Date: April 26, 2016

Incident Time: 2217 hours

Case Number: 16-05296

City: Visalia

Posted by: Media Relations

UPDATE: Felony Evading, Felony Hit and Run and Driving Under the Influence


A Sheriff’s Deputy initiated a traffic stop for an infraction At 2217 hours on April 26, 2016. The suspect vehicle failed to yield and began driving in an erratic manner with no regard for public safety. This included driving on the wrong side of the road at oncoming traffic, running stop signs and red lights which resulted in the suspect vehicle colliding with two occupied vehicles.

The Deputy was concerned with the safety of the public due to the vehicle continuing to evade and endanger public safety.

The Deputy fired at the vehicle in an attempt to disable the vehicle, a Chevrolet Blazer, which eventually came to a stop on Sweet Avenue. 

He detained the two occupants in the vehicle and arrested the driver, Michelle Routh, at the scene. She was booked for Felony Evading, Felony Hit and Run and Driving Under the Influence of Methamphetamine. She is being held without bail.

The adult female passenger was treated at a local hospital for minor injuries and released.

The Deputy was also treated at a local hospital for minor injuries and is currently on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. 



************Origininal press release********************

At 2217 hours on April 26, 2016, a Sheriff’s Deputy attempted to make a traffic stop on a vehicle in the area of Houston Avenue and Santa Fe Street in North Visalia for running a stop sign. The driver failed to yield and a short pursuit ensued.  

The suspect vehicle headed west and crashed into a vehicle at the corner of Houston Avenue and Dinuba Boulevard.

The suspect vehicle continued northbound on Dinuba Boulevard and hit another vehicle. The Deputy forced the vehicle over onto Sweet Avenue. The Deputy exited his vehicle and fired shots toward the suspect vehicle. 

He detained the two adult female occupants of the vehicle and arrested the driver on charges of failure to yield, assault with a deadly weapon and felony evading.

Suspect (driver) Michelle Routh, 43
Witness (passenger) 44-year-old adult female

The passenger was transported to the hospital for clearance. The Deputy also went to the hospital for minor injuries. 

Visalia Police is handling the traffic collision investigations and the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the criminal complaints.

Anyone with more information regarding this investigation is urged to contact the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office at 733-6218 or anonymously at tcso@tipnow.com or by text or voicemail at 559-725-4194.