A probationer accused of leading California Highway Patrol officers on a pursuit through Jurupa Valley, where he allegedly tried to ram the lawmen with his SUV, prompting one of them to open fire, pled not guilty Wednesday to various felony charges.
Jason Erick Knapp, 25, of Rancho Cucamonga, who was arrested Monday following the chase that ended just before daybreak in the hills south of Fontana, pleaded not guilty Wednesday afternoon to two counts of assault on a peace officer, one count of felony evading and a misdemeanor count of driving with a suspended license.
Knapp, who’s being held in lieu of $100,000 bail at the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside, is scheduled to return to court on Dec. 21 for a felony settlement conference.
According to CHP Officer Dan Olivas, a patrolman going west on the Pomona (60) Freeway near Rubidoux Boulevard spotted Knapp’s Jeep Cherokee weaving about 2:30 a.m. Monday and signaled him to stop for a sobriety check.
Olivas alleged that the suspect stomped on the Jeep’s accelerator and began “recklessly evading officers.” Multiple units pursued Knapp, who allegedly went on and off the freeway, alternately going east and west, according to Olivas.
He said that as Knapp neared Pyrite Street, he veered off the 60 and steered toward a perimeter fence in an unsuccessful attempt to drive into the brush. Several officers pulled in close behind the Jeep and got out of their patrol units, then prepared to move toward the SUV, at which point Knapp allegedly “shifted into reverse and aggressively backed up, directly toward the officers.”
“One of the officers began retreating and fired several rounds at the suspect,” Olivas said, adding that Knapp was not struck.
The probationer drove back onto the freeway and sped east, with officers trying to ram his Jeep and deploy spike strips to stop him, according to Olivas. Knapp ultimately left the freeway and traveled onto a side road, then drove into open space in the Jurupa Hills, abandoning his vehicle, the officer said.
CHP and Fontana police officers established a perimeter and soon located Knapp hiding in the hills, where he was taken into custody without further incident, Olivas said.
No officers were injured.
The suspect has a prior misdemeanor conviction for assault, according to court records.