Charges Filed In Bizarre Stolen U-Haul Chase

By City News Service

Criminal charges were filed Friday against a woman accused of leading police on a lengthy pursuit that ended when the stolen U-Haul pickup truck came to a stop in Montebello, where she and her male
passenger embraced as officers approached to arrest them.

Trisha Marie Martinez, 24, pleaded not guilty to one count each of driving or taking a vehicle without consent, receiving a stolen vehicle, trailer, construction equipment or vessel, fleeing a pursuing peace officer’s motor vehicle while driving, hit-and-run driving resulting in property damage and driving under the influence of an alcoholic beverage.

Co-defendant Harold Brian Escobar, 29, is set to be arraigned Monday at the Downey courthouse on one count each of receiving a stolen vehicle, trailer, construction equipment or vessel and fleeing a pursuing peace officer’s motor vehicle while driving. The criminal complaint alleges that he
was previously convicted of second-degree burglary in 2010 and carjacking in 2017.

Police initially tried to pull the pickup over in Bell Gardens about 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, but Martinez allegedly sped off, prompting a chase in which officers learned the vehicle had been reported stolen.

The pickup also collided with another vehicle and had a tire go flat and break apart during the chase, leaving the truck moving at slow speeds with the exposed tire rim scraping along the roadway.

After winding on city streets and freeways, the chase ended about noon at the intersection of Whittier Boulevard and Third Street in Montebello, where the female driver and male passenger eventually got out, with the pair engaging in a strange embrace as police approached. The man, who had appeared
to be prolonging the contact and kissing the woman, was zapped with a stun gun, and both suspects were taken into custody by Bell Gardens police.

If convicted as charged, Martinez faces up to four years and eight months in state prison, while Escobar could face a maximum of eight years and four months behind bars, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

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January 5, 2018  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.


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