MENIFEE – A Menifee man was arrested after an incident that began when he allegedly assaulted another man then hit the victim with his car in a Menifee parking lot. After the attack, the suspect led a sheriff’s motorcycle officer on a pursuit that ended when the fleeing man crashed into two cars at the intersection of Scott and Leon Roads in Menifee.
Five people were injured, one seriously, during the violent assault and subsequent wreck that began around 3:50 p.m.
After the incident, the suspect, who was identified as 52-year old, Eric Darlyn Washington, was arrested and booked into the Southwest Detention Center.
Washington’s charges include assault with a deadly weapon, assault resulting in great bodily injury, felony driving under the influence, DUI causing great bodily injury, recklessly evading police and others.
Deputies from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Menifee Police Station responded to reports of the hit-and-run traffic collision in the Menifee Market and Feed parking lot at 26035 Scott Road.
Riverside Sheriff’s Sergeant Jason Edmondson explained in a press release Washington fled from the parking lot, heading eastbound on Scott Road after the assault.
“A Motor Officer saw the suspect vehicle exit the parking lot, made a U-turn, and attempted a traffic stop by activating his solid red light and siren,” Edmondson wrote.
Washington refused to yield to the deputy’s lights and siren, at which time a pursuit was initiated.
During the pursuit, Washington drove in an extremely reckless manner.
The deputy chased Washington for about 5 miles, before Washington struck two vehicles that were stopped at the intersection of Scott and Leon Roads. Four people from the two cars sustained minor injuries, according to Edmondson.
According to witnesses at the scene, the motorcycle officer who had been chasing Washington held the suspect at gunpoint until other officers and a sheriff’s K9 arrived, at which time Washington was arrested.
During their investigation, deputies determined that before the pursuit and crash, Washington had gotten into an altercation with the first victim in the Menifee Market and Feed parking lot. During the argument, Washington assaulted the other man before getting into his vehicle and striking the victim.
The victim, who officials did not identify, was transported to the hospital with severe injuries, Edmondson explained.
Officials have not specified what led to the initial confrontation and assault and no updates have been provided regarding the victim’s condition.
“Washington is suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs,” wrote Edmondson.
Scott Road between Leon Road and Briggs Road was closed for about two hours while deputies conducted their investigation.
Anyone with information regarding this investigation should contact Deputy Daniel McAuliffe at the Perris Police Department by calling (951) 210-1000 or by email. Callers can refer to incident file number ME170730106 and can remain anonymous. Citizens may also submit a tip using the Sheriff’s CrimeTips online form.