An Indio man accused of leading police on a 15-mile chase from Indio to Thermal pleaded not guilty Friday to a series of charges, including burglary and vehicle theft.
Luis Meza, 23, pleaded not guilty to seven felony counts — evading police, possessing a prohibited firearm and ammunition, contraband in jail, burglary, purchasing or receiving a stolen vehicle and two counts of taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent. He also pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor count of driving on a suspended or revoked license.
Meza was arrested Tuesday evening when officers from the La Quinta Special Enforcement Team spotted a white Ford F-150 matching the description of a truck that was reported stolen from Palm Desert, sheriff’s Sgt. David Smith said. At the time, Meza was under investigation by the team in connection with several burglaries, thefts and stolen vehicles.
When deputies tried to make a traffic stop at Jefferson Street and Miles Avenue in Indio, Meza took off and led them on a chase to Thermal, where he bailed out of the truck and tried to flee on foot, Smith said.
Thirty minutes after Meza was initially spotted, he was taken into custody with the assistance of a California Highway Patrol helicopter crew and Palm Desert K9 team, the sergeant said.
Police did not provide further details on Meza’s alleged burglaries and vehicle thefts.
An Indio woman obtained a restraining order against Meza on Dec. 19, 2018. Despite the warrant, Meza went to the woman’s residence in a mobile home community on Christmas while she was away, according to court records.
When the woman came home the next day, she saw Meza at her residence.
On March 18, Judge James Latting issued an arrest warrant for Meza in the amount of $5,000 in response to the violation, according to the declaration.
Meza is being held at the Southwest Detention Center in Murrieta, according to jail records.
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