Felon Charged with Fleeing from Deputies in Stolen Pickup

Felony charges were filed Friday against a 24-year-old convicted felon accused of leading sheriff’s deputies on a pursuit through San Jacinto in a stolen pickup truck that he crashed.

Wyatt Richard Garofalo was arrested Wednesday following the seven-mile chase that ended just east of Hemet and is facing charges of auto theft, assault on a peace officer with a deadly weapon — a vehicle — and felony evading.

He’s being held in lieu of $100,000 bail at the Byrd Detention Center and is slated to make his initial court appearance Friday afternoon at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta.

According to Riverside County sheriff’s Sgt. Julio Olguin, deputies were alerted about 2:30 p.m. Wednesday to a vehicle theft near the intersection of Camino Los Banos and East Main Street, where the owner of a Ford F350 told the patrolmen that his pickup had just been taken.

Deputies fanned out and spotted the truck approaching Seventh Street on Camino Los Banos, prompting them to signal the driver to stop, Olguin said. He alleged that the probationer refused and instead accelerated eastbound until reaching the Ramona Expressway, where he turned south.

“The pursuit covered several roadways located in the east area of San Jacinto and (unincorporated) Hemet,” the sergeant said. “The vehicle ultimately drove into the front of a security gate in the 44000 block of Orpington Avenue (east) of Hemet.”

The defendant allegedly bailed out of the pickup and ran behind a storage facility, climbing a tree in an attempt to hide, according to Olguin. Deputies ordered him to surrender, and he complied, the sheriff’s spokesman said.

No one was injured during the pursuit. The circumstances behind the alleged assault were unclear.

According to court records, Garofalo has prior convictions for false imprisonment, battery and theft.

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