Manuel Montenegro's mug shot.
Manuel Montenegro plead guilty to felony charges of vehicle theft and evading arrest. Photo from Riverside County Sheriffs Department.

A young man who stole a pickup truck in Desert Hot Springs twice in less than 24 hours, then led police on an early morning chase that ended when he crashed the truck into a palm tree, pleaded guilty Wednesday and was immediately sentenced to one year and four months in state prison.

Manuel Montenegro, 19, of Cathedral City pleaded guilty to felony counts of vehicle theft and evading arrest.

Montenegro stole the truck on the night of Sept. 6, abandoned the vehicle, then stole it again sometime before 6:45 a.m. Sept. 7, just hours after police had located it.

While officers were taking a second stolen vehicle report from the truck’s owner, Montenegro was spotted in the truck near Sixth Street and Cactus Drive, according to Sgt. Christopher Saucier.

Montenegro sped away from officers trying to pull him over, triggering a chase that ended when he tried to jump from the moving truck in the 66500 block of Buena Vista Avenue, Saucier said.

The truck struck a palm tree and overturned, according to the sergeant. Montenegro then ran, but was caught about two blocks south of the crash scene near the intersection of Palm Drive and Desert View Avenue.

He suffered minor injuries in the crash and was treated on scene before being booked.

–City News Service

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