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Suspects in April Police Chase Enter Pleas

Alleged Westsiders Drove to Eastside Looking for Fight


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Four men who were arrested following a police pursuit and subsequent crash in April 2012 have all entered pleas in the case, and one has been sentenced to two years in state prison.

Police say the foursome — all 18 years old at the time of the incident — traveled to the Eastside looking to fight. Their car stopped on Mason Street near Franklin School (a known Eastside hangout), where three of them — alleged Westside gang members or associates Erik Ortega, Josue Guzman, and Abraham Vega — got out of the car. After confronting a group of people on the street, the three got back into the car, and they left.

Police responding to reports of a gang fight quickly caught up with the vehicle and attempted to pull it over, according to authorities. A pursuit ensued, according to a police press release, ending with the suspect vehicle crashing into a light pole at Gutierrez and Chapala streets.

The four fled on foot. Vega was tasered, Guzman was tackled by an officer, and Erick Herrera surrendered after a brief pursuit. Ortega got away but was ultimately arrested, police said. The vehicle, police say, had an open knife and a tire iron on the floorboard and also contained beer and clothing characterized as “gang attire.”

Vega, who was already on felony probation, pleaded to felony resisting arrest with a gang enhancement, according to prosecutor Kimberly Siegel. He also admitted a violation of probation and was sentenced weeks ago to two years in state prison.

Ortega and Guzman were sentenced in recent weeks. Ortega pleaded to felony evading an officer and felony street terrorism and was sentenced to three years probation, 365 days in jail, and he must pay restitution to the city for the damage caused by the crash, Siegel said. Guzman entered a plea to felony resisting arrest with a gang enhancement, served 385 days in jail, and is on felony probation for three years, with gang terms and registration.

Herrera pleaded to a vandalism charge in a separate case and is awaiting sentencing.

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