Police arrested one man and detained one woman Monday afternoon following a high-speed car chase through the streets of Isla Vista and the UCSB campus.
The pursuit ended when the fleeing green Honda Civic Hatchback blew all four of its tires after hitting a curb outside Manzanita Village. The suspected driver, 23-year-old Santa Barbara resident Anthony Hislar, was arrested after he attempted to evade police on foot by jumping down the rocky cliff to the beach below the 6500 block of Del Playa Drive. Police also apprehended Hislar’s female passenger a short distance from the disabled vehicle, which came to a rest between Manzanita Village and the bike path connecting DP to the campus.
Sgt. Eric Raney, spokesman for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Dept., said the role of Hislar’s female passenger in the chase was still being investigated as of Monday night. Raney said Hislar is currently being charged with felony evading and driving on a suspended license. Police officers also found small amounts of narcotics, drug paraphernalia and items from a recent residential burglary in his car.
The I.V. Foot Patrol and UC Police Dept. responded to a 9-1-1 emergency call at 1:55 p.m. from UCSB student Danielle Gronich, who told police Hislar was threatening her in her apartment on the 6700 block of DP. Though officers initially responded to the call believing Hislar had a gun, Raney said Hislar did not have a gun at the time of his arrest.
“Hislar had previously been in possession of a gun, which scared [Gronich],” Raney said. “She called 9-1-1 and said, ‘There’s a man in my house threatening me.’ He left before our deputies got there, but university officers spotted him at Embarcadero del Mar and Pardall [Road].”
Once police officers recognized and approached Hislar’s car, UCPD Officer Mark Signa said the car began moving at a high speed, ran a stop sign and turned off Embarcadero del Mar to cut through the barrier between Picasso Road and Camino Pescadero. Signa said Hislar then turned east onto El Colegio Road and drove toward the UCSB campus, where he drove for a brief time in the wrong direction on Stadium Road. Hislar eventually turned onto Ocean Road and abandoned his car beyond the end of the road in the dirt lot between Manzanita Village and the beginning of DP.
Fourth-year geography major Brett Griffith said he witnessed police following Hislar down Ocean Rd.
“I looked out my window and saw this car hauling ass,” Griffith said. “There were three cop cars following it and they were going a lot slower. It was probably going around 70 or 80 [mph].”
After the vehicle blew its tires on the curb of Ocean Rd., forcing it to stop, Raney said the female passenger was detained near the car while Hislar ran away on foot and hopped the fence guarding the cliff.
Ross Bushnell, a fourth-year English major, said he watched the suspect make his way to the beach.
“He scurried down the cliff,” Bushnell said. “There’s kind of a path down there and he pretty much just tumbled down it.”
UCPD Officer Mitch Molitor said another UCPD officer followed the suspect down the cliff and ran along the beach until Hislar came back up on the street via the El Embarcadero beach access way and was arrested in front of 6557 DP.
“We had an officer trailing him the whole way and go down after him,” Molitor said. “He had a direct line of sight the entire time. One of the pursuing officers ran down Del Playa and paralleled the foot chase.”
Molitor said police instructed the suspect to get down and Hislar initially complied before getting up once more and said, “You can’t shoot me.” Molitor said police then apprehended Hislar at gunpoint.
IVFP Deputy Crouse said police detained Hislar at the IVFP office Monday afternoon and were beginning to question those involved.
“Hopefully we’ll have [Gronich] coming in now to talk to us, but she’s a little scared because he’s here,” Crouse said. “He’s not being very friendly.”