San Ramon police were taken on a brief car chase through city streets on Wednesday evening that ended in a police K-9 unit taking down the suspect after he ditched his stolen vehicle and attempted to hide in a bush.
The arrestee would later be cite-released, instead of booked into the county jail, due to an existing judicial order related to concerns over the coronavirus at the Martinez Detention Facility.
According to SRPD Capt. Cary Goldberg, at approximately 6:19 p.m. San Ramon police had received a report that Danville police officers were in pursuit of a gray Ford pickup truck, which was reported stolen to Hercules police earlier in the day.
After Danville police terminated their pursuit for safety reasons due to the suspect driving on the wrong side of the road, SRPD officers were able to locate the vehicle at Crow Canyon Road and Alcosta Boulevard, briefly initiating their own pursuit before backing off after additional wrong-way driving was observed.
Officers ultimately saw the stolen vehicle pull into a driveway on Valdivia Circle and observed the driver running away and jumping fences into local backyards, according to SRPD Capt. Denton Carlson. A perimeter was set up, and with the assistance of Contra Costa County Sheriff's deputies and the sheriff's office helicopter, the suspect was soon located in nearby bushes.
After refusing to come out of the bushes, SRPD officers deployed a K-9 unit, which bit the suspect on the leg and enabled officers to make an arrest, according to police.
The suspect was later identified as a 23-year-old resident of San Leandro. He was arrested for felony reckless evading, evading in the opposite lanes of traffic, possession of stolen property and probation violation.
The suspect was then transported to the Martinez Detention Facility, but, according to Goldberg, was refused admission based on charges and the COVID-19 crisis.
The arrestee was instead cite-released -- a process where a suspect is issued a citation and allowed to go home with the promise of showing up in court later -- due to an existing judicial order that aims to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 among inmates and jail staff, the captain said.
"The judicial order prohibits jail staff from taking/booking arrestees under certain circumstances (i.e. certain charges, severity of charges, bail amounts, etc)," Goldberg explained.
Editor's note: This story was updated with new information from Capt. Goldberg to clarify that the reason for the cite-release was due to an existing judicial order that prevents jail staff from booking arrestees for certain crimes to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.