A parolee accused of leading law enforcement officers on a chase in a stolen vehicle from San Jacinto to the Banning Pass, colliding with cars on Interstate 10 before surrendering, pleaded not guilty Thursday to felony evading and other charges.
Noel Avalos, 28, was arrested Saturday afternoon following the hour-long pursuit.
Along with evading, Avalos is charged with auto theft, receiving stolen property and parole violations. He was arraigned before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Judith Clark, who scheduled a felony settlement conference for April 26 at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta and ordered him held in lieu of $150,000 bail at the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning.
According to Riverside County sheriff’s Sgt. Wade Lenton., about 10:30 a.m. Saturday, patrol deputies on the north end of San Jacinto spotted a car reported stolen earlier in the day and signaled the driver — later identified as Avalos — to stop.
Lenton alleged that the transient floored the vehicle instead, initially heading in one direction, then another.
Five minutes later, the deputies pulled out of the chase due to concern for public safety and handed it off to a sheriff’s helicopter crew based at Hemet-Ryan Airport, who trailed the driver from above, according to the sergeant.
He said Avalos steered north on Highway 79, going into the Banning Pass, where he went westbound on I-10.
“A California Highway Patrol officer initiated a pursuit of the vehicle until it collided with several civilian vehicles on I-10,” Lenton said.
The stolen car became inoperable near Oak Valley Parkway, and Avalos surrendered, according to Lenton, who said no one was injured during the pursuit.
According to court records, the defendant has prior convictions in San Bernardino County for making criminal threats and auto theft.
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