Merced woman leads Atwater Police on chase with a 5-year-old

On August 21st, 2019, at approximately 2:30 PM, Officer Cardoza observed a minor rear-end traffic collision that had just occurred in the 1500 block of Atwater Boulevard.

Officer Cardoza contacted the drivers of both vehicles to see if anyone was injured or needed police assistance. During his contact it was learned that the driver of the vehicle who had rear-ended the vehicle in front of her, did not have a driver’s license issued to her.

During the course of the investigation, the unlicensed driver fled the scene in her vehicle with her five-year-old child in the rear seat.

Officer Cardoza gave chase for approximately 60 seconds however the driver failed to yield to the patrol vehicle’s emergency lights and siren.

The driver entered SR99 northbound at which point Officer Cardoza elected to terminate the pursuit due to the driver’s reckless disregard for the child and other motorists.

Officer Cardoza had obtained the driver’s ID card information so had identity on her. She was identified as 25-year-old A’zhia Gardiner of Merced.

Today, Gardiner contacted the Atwater Police Department inquiring about the incident. Gardiner was picked up at her Merced home by detectives where she was arrested and transported to the Atwater Police Department for questioning.

She was later booked into Merced County Main Jail and charged with Reckless Evasion of a Peace Officer, Felony Child Endangerment and Operating a Motor Vehicle without a Driver’s License Issued.

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