A Redlands man accused of killing his passenger and injuring two others in a high-speed crash in Riverside that occurred minutes after police had given up chasing him was charged Wednesday with second-degree murder and other offenses.

Arthur Armando Alvarez, 27, was arrested Saturday after the deadly wreck on Central Avenue at the exit ramp from the eastbound Riverside (91) Freeway.

Along with murder, Alvarez is charged with two counts each of felony evading and eluding a peace officer, as well as one count of vehicle theft and hit-and-run resulting in great bodily injury.

The defendant made his initial court appearance before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Emma Smith, who appointed him a public defender and scheduled his arraignment for July 24 at the Riverside Hall of Justice.

Alvarez is being held in lieu of $1 million bail at the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside.

According to Corona and Riverside police, the defendant was spotted about 8 a.m. Saturday in the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant on Green River Road in Corona, where he allegedly broke into and hot-wired a gray Toyota Tacoma pickup truck, drawing the attention of passers-by.

Corona patrol officers were notified and began searching for the vehicle after Alvarez allegedly drove it out of the parking lot. According to investigators, the Tacoma was spotted a short time later on the eastbound 91, near Green River, and officers signaled the defendant to stop, but he allegedly ignored the sirens and sped away.

Alvarez, with two passengers riding with him, entered the Riverside city limits and continued to attempt to elude officers, plowing through a red light at the intersection of Indiana and La Sierra avenues, police allege. Corona units abandoned the chase at that point, fearing for public safety.

According to Riverside police Sgt. Eric Detmer, Alvarez re-entered the freeway a couple of minutes later — with no one on his tail — and at about 8:30 a.m., tried to exit at Central, going well over the speed limit. The defendant allegedly ran a red light and hit a sedan, at which point he bailed out of the pickup and ran but was quickly apprehended by witnesses, Detmer said.

One of the occupants of the pickup, a man yet to be positively identified, died at the scene. Another passenger, whose namre was not released, suffered moderate injuries, while the occupant of the car also suffered moderate injuries. Alvarez escaped with cuts and abrasions.

All parties were taken to Riverside Community Hospital for treatment. Alvarez was booked into jail hours later.

He has no documented prior felony convictions in Riverside County.

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