An empty courtroom with benches, judges bench flag and elaborate chandelier.
An example of a courtroom, but not one in the story. Photo from Pixabay.

A domestic violence suspect who allegedly fled from authorities and used his vehicle to ram sheriff’s vehicles during the pursuit pleaded not guilty Thursday to felony charges.

Jose Lopez Jr., 35, was charged with five felony counts — one each of stalking, criminal threats to cause death or great bodily harm, dissuading a victim, assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer, and evading arrest, according to court records. He was additionally charged with misdemeanor counts of violating a stay-away court order, driving under the influence and willfully resisting or obstructing an officer.

He pleaded not guilty to all charges at the Larson Justice Center in Indio on Thursday morning. He is due back in court Oct. 7.

At about 1:25 a.m. Sunday, deputies from the sheriff’s Thermal station were pursuing Lopez in the 47000 block of Indio Boulevard, according to Sgt. Matthew Allert of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

Allert said Lopez was wanted on suspicion of several felonies, including stalking, domestic violence and criminal threats.

During the pursuit, Lopez used his vehicle to ram pursuing sheriff’s vehicles, according to Allert. He subsequently lost control of his vehicle and collided with a fence. Lopez tried to run away but was apprehended with the assistance of a sheriff’s canine, Allert said.

He was booked at the John J. Benoit Detention Center in Indio, where he was being held on $1 million bail.

Anyone with information on the investigation was asked to contact Deputy Martin of the Thermal station at 760-863-8990 or report tips anonymously at 760-341-STOP (7867).

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