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Deadly chase started in Auburn

Twins from Antelope charged with murder in crash victims’ deaths; 3rd man held
By: Amy Lobenberg, Journal Staff Writer
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A pursuit that began in Auburn ended Wednesday with a violent car crash that killed two people near the Antelope area of Sacramento.

Lt. Victor Pecoraro of the Auburn Police Department said Officer Chris Forman and Sgt. Rick Hardesty responded to a call 1:30 a.m. about suspicious individuals in a car driving around the Grand Oaks area of Auburn. They received a similar call from the Vintage Oaks neighborhood at 4:30 a.m. and found twins, Ruslan and Roman Glukhoy, 19, and Yuriy Merkushev, 21, of Antelope, driving near the area.

According to reports, as the officers went to make contact, the car with the three suspects drove directly at the officers, committing an assault with a deadly weapon. The officers got out of the way, and a pursuit started.

Auburn police and Placer County sheriff’s deputies chased the suspects on westbound Interstate 80 until the trio’s car crashed near the Horseshoe Bar Road exit in Loomis.

Placer County sheriff’s spokeswoman Dena Erwin said all three men ran into a nearby neighborhood, entered an occupied home on Becky Way and stole the keys to a truck.

They allegedly drove the truck at speeds over 100 mph along I-80 to Antelope Road in Sacramento.

As the suspects approached Antelope North Road, they collided with a sedan that had turned left in front of them, and the two people in that car were killed instantly, authorities said. The California Highway Patrol identified the driver as 35-year-old Jose Luis Barriga-Tovar of Antelope and his 14-year-old daughter, both from Antelope. 

Deputies chased the Glukhoy twins, who allegedly jumped fences and ran through the backyards of nearby homes to try to escape. A deputy suffered a broken hand in the process of arresting Roman. Ruslan was caught later hiding in a nearby backyard. He was taken into custody after being subdued by a sheriff’s dog.

Merkushev was later arrested in Loomis.

Roman Glukhoy was booked on charges of felony burglary, reckless driving and two counts of murder. He is in custody at the Placer County Jail and is ineligible for bail.

Ruslan Glukhoy was admitted to Mercy San Juan Hospital in Carmichael. He will also be booked on two felony counts of murder, authorities said.

Merkushev was booked on a felony charge of receiving known stolen property and a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest.

Vintage Oaks resident Doug Randall said he was stunned when he went to his car Tuesday morning and found his personal belongings spread across both front seats. He initially thought his wife may have been looking for something, but after calling her he realized that he had been a victim of the vehicle burglaries that had occurred earlier in the morning.

“I kind of put two and two together,” Randall said. “The police came out and did all their stuff and now I am waiting for the highway patrol to come out and look at the car.”

Randall said he believes that the men were looking for easy money or credit cards because they were selective about the items they took from his car. He said they passed over a $400 portable GPS system but took a $600 radar detector and about $30 worth of change.

“My vehicle was not locked and they rifled through it and took what they wanted,” Randall said. “It makes me feel creepy that these three guys were in my vehicle and then went and killed two people.”

Pecoraro added that both Auburn neighborhoods have had recent problems with car theft. The Auburn Police Department plans to charge the suspects with assault with a deadly weapon for allegedly trying to run down the two officers, said Pecoraro.

Auburn Police Chief John Ruffcorn did not return calls seeking comment.

According to Sacramento County Superior Court records, Merkusher has a criminal history. Records indicate he was arrested on Jan. 31, 2013, for theft and pleaded guilty. He was also arrested on April 18, 2013, for possession of narcotics and pleaded guilty.

Anyone who has information about the chase or who saw the collision is asked to contact the California Highway Patrol Valley Division, MAIT Investigators, at (916) 731-6394 during business hours, or CHP dispatch at (916) 861-1300 after hours.