The driver involved in a violent crash in Newhall earlier this week has been identified as a man wanted on suspicion of assault and robbery in Oregon, according to law enforcement officials.
The interstate connection between law enforcement agencies stemmed from a report that a passerby had watched Monday morning as a white sports car flew off Interstate 5 near Weldon Canyon, and continued to roll down an embankment into dry brush.
The witness to the crash said he heard a woman screaming as he called 9-1-1 to assist. He then drove down to The Old Road, near where the car had landed, and found the alleged driver of the crashed vehicle, Kevin Villanueva, 22, of Springfield, Oregon, waving him down.
Villanueva and his female passenger were transported to the hospital, with Vllanueva having suffered minor injuries while the female passenger had suffered major injuries, according to Officer Josh Greengard, a spokesman for the California HIghway Patrol Newhall Office.
However, law enforcement officials noted that Villanueva, who eyewitnesses say had abruptly swerved his car across multiple lanes before launching his vehicle over the side of the freeway embankment, was oddly driving without any form of identification.
Villanueva reportedly gave first responders a name while on the scene, but could not provide a driver’s license, passport or any other form of identification.
Investigators soon found out why that was, Greengard said on Friday.
“When we ran him, he didn’t have any sort of identification on him whatsoever … when we asked him who he was, he gave his brother’s name,” said Greengard. “His brother’s name came back with a description of what (Villanueva) kind of looks like. So, we continued with the investigation.”
“But when he went to the hospital, Eugene, Oregon, detectives realized that we had run his brother’s name, and they were following people in and out of the (state) because they knew he could’ve been in California,” said Greengard.
Oregon investigators said on Friday that Villanueva was wanted in connection to a shooting on July 18 on the 400 block of Highway 99 in Oregon.
Eugene Police Department investigators said last July that a single victim was shot and was unconscious when the first EPD officers arrived on the scene. One officer wrapped a tourniquet on the man’s leg while the other performed CPR, and the 23-year-old victim was transported to the hospital, alive.
Two months later Gage Ezell Duncan-Moor, 20, of Springfield, and Villanueva were arrested. Villanueva was charged with robbery in the first degree, assault in the first degree, and felon in possession of a firearm in relation to the incident. Third suspect was identified and later turned himself in on Sept. 25.
Melinda McLaughlin, a spokeswoman for the EPD, said Friday she was not certain of the exact circumstances, but said Villanueva had not been adjudicated “and he left the state.”
Following Monday’s Newhall crash and a few days in the hospital, Villanueva was booked into custody at the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station and law enforcement officials from California’s northern neighbor were on their way to bring him back across state lines, Greengard said.
“(Villanueva) basically gave us wrong information at first, but obviously we weren’t able to check into it immediately because he didn’t have any sort of identification,” said Greengard. “We ran his brother’s name, Eugene, Oregon, detectives called us and said, ‘You may have someone that we need.’”
McLaughlin confirmed Friday that Villanueva was wanted for assault related to the shooting, and that he was on his way back to Oregon, based on information she had received from investigators in the EPD Violent Crimes Unit.