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Motorhome driver leads police on wild 30-mile chase from Lake Tahoe

Updated August 27, 2018 - 8:00 pm

GARDNERVILLE — The driver of a motorhome led officers on a wild mountain highway chase that reached speeds of 80 mph before he crashed into a building and was arrested, authorities said Monday.

The driver of the 1997 Airstream ran red lights, swerved toward two deputies, drove around a pair of roadblocks and through spike strips during the 30-mile chase that began late Sunday in Stateline, Douglas County deputies said.

Christopher Debastiani of Alturas, California, has been booked on suspicion of about a dozen charges, including assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer.

The sheriff’s office said deputies pursued the motorhome after it entered Stateline from California on U.S. Highway 50 with no headlights, going 55 mph in a 35 mph zone.

They say the motorhome refused to stop and drove as fast as 80 mph while swerving across the double yellow line past Cave Rock on Lake Tahoe’s west shore, over Spooner Summit, then south onto U.S. Highway 395 on the edge of Carson City.

The Nevada Highway Patrol and Carson City sheriff’s deputies helped deploy spike strips and the vehicle’s tires began to tear away. But Debastiani kept driving on the wheel rims, showering the road with sparks, authorities said.

He eventually crashed into a building in Gardnerville. Deputies say Debastiani resisted officers who tried to remove him from the vehicle but eventually was arrested and taken to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries.

Debastiani later was booked into the county jail in Minden, where his bail was set Monday at $102,082.

Other charges include DUI and reckless driving, speeding, destruction of property and obstructing/resisting a peace officer. It’s not clear if he has a lawyer or will be appointed one at a pending court appearance.

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