Ten-year prison term handed down to parolee
A 10-year term in state prison has been handed down to a parolee who led officers on a pursuit in a stolen car after one crash and a near collision with a sheriff’s vehicle on state Route 67 near Lakeside.
Raymundo Calderon, Jr., 28, pleaded guilty to hit and run, auto theft, and evading officers with reckless driving in a Dec. 8, 2015 incident. A second hit and run charge and attempted carjacking count was dismissed in El Cajon Superior Court.
Calderon was on parole for robbery and auto theft when a deputy saw him commit a traffic violation on Route 67. A deputy pulled him over near Bradley Avenue, and Calderon initially complied.
The black Honda Civic he was driving had been stolen earlier that day and he could not produce a license or registration. Calderon suddenly drove off and turned onto Greenfield Street in El Cajon.
He struck a silver car that went into a drainage ditch, and later hit a parked truck, causing massive damages to the stolen car. Calderon fled from the car and ran into an apartment complex.
Calderon demanded a ride from a man in a Ford Explorer, but the driver pushed him out. During a 20-minute foot pursuit, Calderon scaled a fence into a mobile home park and hid. Deputies, with the help of a patrol dog and helicopter crew, found him. No one was injured.
Court records also show Calderon has pleaded guilty to committing domestic violence and receiving stolen property.
La Mesa police crack down on distracted driving
The La Mesa Police Department has warned motorists that using a cell phone while driving carries a $162 fine for first time offenders.
On April 5, the department announced they received a grant from the California office of Traffic Safety and they plan to join other law enforcement agencies to discourage distracted driving of people who use cell phones on the road.
Extra traffic officers with grant-funded resources in La Mesa will be deployed in locations with higher numbers of traffic collisions.
April is recognized as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The department said the goal is to gain voluntary compliance by drivers, but citations are necessary sometimes.
A law that went into effect on Jan. 1 makes virtually all hand-held cell phone activity illegal, which includes texting and using apps. A cell phone can be used for directions, but it must be properly mounted and not held in a driver’s hand.
“Law enforcement would rather see everyone off their cell phones than hand out a lot of tickets,” said Rhonda Craft, director of the office of Traffic Safety.
“Take care of calling, texting, setting your GPS and everything else before you hit the street,” said Craft.
There were 3,477 people killed and an estimated 391,000 people injured in motor vehicle collisions involving distracted driving in 2015, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Preliminary hearing set in La Mesa robbery case
A preliminary hearing has been set for May 31 for a 19-year-old man who is charged with robbing a woman in her car outside a Denny’s restaurant in La Mesa.
Elvis Ali Rojas, of San Diego, has pleaded not guilty in El Cajon Superior Court to 10 charges involving a Feb. 1 incident outside the restaurant at 4235 Spring Street. The woman said a man asked her for money at 2:06 a.m., saying he was hungry.
The 51-year-old woman told La Mesa Police she agreed to help him, but he struck her over the head with a metal pipe-like object. Rojas is accused of stealing her purse, cellphone, car keys, and allegedly tried to carjack her but was unsuccessful.
The woman was transported to a hospital and treated for minor injuries. Rojas is also charged with making a criminal threat, false imprisonment, auto theft, receiving stolen property, drunk driving and hit and run. He was on three years probation for receiving stolen property in a 2016 case, according to court records. He remains in jail without bail.