Jackson arrested after police chase

Former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson was arrested and held on $25,000 bail following a traffic accident Tuesday afternoon in Costa Mesa, Calif.

According to Costa Mesa police Lt. Paul Dondero, an officer observed the 30-year old Jackson driving with a flat tire on his 2008 Ford F-350 pickup truck and talking on his cell phone (which recently became illegal while driving in Calif.) and attempted to pull him over.

Dondero said Jackson, a resident of Irvine, Calif., ignored the officer and continued driving with the officer in pursuit.

Police had received a report of a vehicle involved in a collision on the 55 Freeway in Costa Mesa, which struck other vehicles and fled the scene, Dondero said.

The chase continued with the vehicle weaving in and out of traffic, including at one point driving on the wrong side of the road and even on a sidewalk, scaring pedestrians.

Dondero said Jackson hit two cars at 19th Street and Newport Boulevard at 1:13 p.m., but failed to stop. He said a Costa Mesa police officer saw the truck near 17th Street and attempted to pull it over.

Jackson fled and hit at least one more car before the five-minute chase ended with his arrest, the lieutenant said.

The car continued to Newport Beach, where the tire blew out and came off the rim and he was taken into the Orange County Central jail. The fighter was charged with hit-and-run driving, felony evading and reckless driving.

UFC president Dana White flew to Orange County upon learning of the arrest and said he was driving to the county jail to post bail for Jackson.

The story was initially reported by the website TMZ.com, which has photos of Jackson lying face down on the street behind his truck, a 2008 Ford F-350 turbo diesel, as a police officer has his gun drawn and is pointing it at him.

Jackson won the UFC light heavyweight title by knocking out Chuck Liddell at UFC 71 on May 26, 2007. After a successful defense against Dan Henderson on Sept. 5, Jackson lost the belt to Forrest Griffin on a controversial decision at UFC 86 on July 5 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

Jackson’s manager/trainer, Juanito Ibarra, did not immediately return phone calls.

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Updated Tuesday, Jul 15, 2008