A Vista man accused of stealing a California Highway Patrol cruiser near Temecula and crashing it, then carjacking a motorist and later stealing another vehicle in a three-county pursuit that ended in southern Orange County, was charged Wednesday with nine felony counts.
Adolfo Makano Moreno, 20, was arrested Monday in Mission Viejo, where the nearly two-hour chase came to an end without incident, and is being held in lieu of $100,000 bail at the Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta.
He is slated to make his initial court appearance Wednesday afternoon at the nearby Southwest Justice Center on three counts each of felony evading and auto theft and one count each of carjacking, battery and hit-and-run resulting in property damage.
According to the CHP, an officer attempted to stop Moreno for riding a motorcycle without a helmet in the area of Interstate 15 and Murrieta Hot Springs Road about 9:40 a.m. Monday, but the defendant sped away, prompting the patrolman to give chase.
Moreno exited southbound I-15 onto Rancho California Road and traveled into the De Luz community southwest of Temecula, CHP Officer Mike Lassig said.
He said Moreno dumped the bike on the side of the road, then fled on foot, with the officer in pursuit. The defendant then circled back around to the CHP unit parked on the roadside and jumped inside, driving away before the patrolman could get back to the car, according to Lassig.
Sheriff’s deputies and other CHP officers were alerted, and a sheriff’s helicopter soon spotted the stolen cruiser, directing patrol cars toward its location, according to Lassig.
While allegedly trying to elude his pursuers, Moreno crashed into a concrete curb on Jefferson Avenue, near Rancho California, in Temecula.
“The suspect fled on foot and flagged down a driver of a Lexus in a parking lot area on Ynez Road,” Lassig said. “The suspect used physical force to steal the vehicle from the driver and continued to flee in the Lexus.
The carjacking victim suffered minor injuries.
With CHP units in pursuit, Moreno sped south on I-15, eventually entering the community of Cardiff in San Diego County, where he allegedly caused a four-vehicle non-injury collision on Manchester Avenue.
Lassig said the suspect took off on foot and came across a Toyota Prius parked on a street a couple of blocks away, with the driver’s side door open and keys in the ignition. Moreno allegedly stole the car and headed north on Interstate 5.
As the defendant entered Mission Viejo about 11:30 a.m., with law enforcement officers on his tail, he stopped the Toyota and surrendered at the intersection of El Toboso and La Mancha, according to Lassig
Moreno has no documented prior felony convictions in Riverside County.