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Vegetation fire chars motorcycle, CHP vehicle after chase

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A high-speed pursuit on Foresthill Road Sunday afternoon reached speeds of up to 100 mph and ended with a charred California Highway Patrol vehicle and a motorcycle. The incident began when Officer Eric Karla tried to pull over motorcycle rider Duston Mathew Clemons, 28, of Foresthill who was reportedly traveling at an estimated speed of 80 mph westbound near Portofino Road, according to Dave Martinez, public information officer for the CHP Newcastle office. “The motorcyclist failed to yield and took off,” Martinez said. The motorcycle, allegedly stolen from Rocklin, reached speeds of 60 to 100 mph and Clemons was using the right shoulder to pass moving vehicles, Martinez said. A second CHP officer, Mark Duval, then joined the pursuit, which ended when Clemons slowed and attempted to make a left turn onto southbound Old Auburn Foresthill Road toward the Mammoth Bar OHV park, Martinez said. “Basically he failed to negotiate the turn, brought the motorcycle to a stop and laid it on its side,” Martinez said. As Clemons reportedly attempted to run away, Karla parked his vehicle and followed on foot. Duval was able to move ahead take Clemons into custody. When Karla returned to his patrol vehicle, he saw that a small grass fire had been started by the motorcycle. “The vegetation ignited and engulfed the motorcycle,” Martinez said. The fire then spread to the parked CHP vehicle. Karla sustained smoke damage and minor burns to his arm when he attempted to retrieve personal belongings from the front seat of the burning car. He was taken by AMR ambulance to Sutter Roseville and later released, Martinez said. The flames totally destroyed both the CHP vehicle and the motorcycle. Clemons was booked into the Placer County Jail on $170,000 bail and faces charges of evading a police officer, taking a vehicle without the owner’s permission and receiving stolen property. – Gloria Young