Laura Dvorak 5:47 p.m., Dec. 6
Escondido man accused of gang crimes
Eighteen-year-old Pedro Manriquez Jr. denies latest car theft charge
An Escondido woman heard her car start, and looked out her apartment window in time to see her car being driven away, Sunday night, December 16, 2012.
She also noticed a Honda Accord with a bike rack on the roof, closely following after her car. It was after 10 p.m. when the woman and her mother jumped into Mom’s car and took off after her stolen vehicle. As they pursued the stolen car and the closely-following Honda on north-bound freeway 15, the younger woman described the situation by cell phone to an Escondido Police dispatcher.
Escondido Police quickly found the line of cars on the freeway, but were not able to get between the stolen vehicle and the closely-following-Honda, according to Officer Marvin Jabro, who testified in San Diego’s North County Superior Courthouse today.
The stolen car and the Honda exited the northbound highway and then re-entered freeway 15, now going south. Both cars exited the freeway and the lead vehicle crashed at Country Club Drive, into the center median, the officer said. The driver of the smashed car fled, running into a nearby golf course. A police canine was able to locate the fugitive after about five minutes, and that person was arrested, according to Officer Jabro.
Escondido Police officers were speaking with the owner of the stolen vehicle at the crash site, about 45 minutes later, when the woman shouted out, “That’s the vehicle that was following!” The woman pointed to a 1990 Honda Accord with a bike rack on the roof that was just pulling up, and officers rushed the vehicle.
The driver first ignored orders to stop, putting the vehicle into reverse and driving backwards about 15 feet, Officer Jabro said. One officer broke a side window and then the Honda halted, the officer testified.
Pedro Manriquez Jr., 18, was identified in court today as the driver of the Honda. The car he was driving had been reported stolen from San Diego some days prior, according to testimony today. Officers noticed that the steering column and ignition system of the Honda were damaged.
Four other persons were removed from the Honda, during which time a fight broke out, and one officer’s knee was seriously injured, according to Officer Jabro.
A gang specialist testified, he stated that Pedro Manriquez Jr. and the driver of the other stolen vehicle were both “documented” members of the Diablo street gang. Escondido Police Detective John Hurley stated that Escondido is infested with five gangs. “We have Diablos and West Side Gang and East Side Gang and Esco Boys and the Santos,” Det. Hurley testified.
Pedro Manriquez Jr. has been “contacted” by police “numerous” times in gang areas and with other gang members, the detective said. And, “he has a gang-related tattoo on his chest."
A prosecutor alleges that 18-year-old Pedro Manriquez Jr. has a juvenile record which includes a prior conviction for auto theft, conviction for possession of weapon on school grounds, and a prior charge of resisting arrest which was dropped in a plea deal.
Superior Court Judge Blaine Bowman ordered the defendant to face a felony charge of stolen vehicle and a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest and gang allegations.
Public defender Matt Mohun pleaded not guilty on behalf of his client, and was able to convince the judge to lower bail from $250,000 to $35,000. The judge told Manriquez Jr. to be in court on January 30, to set a date for jury trial.
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