INDIO (CNS) – A 24-year-old man suspected of leading police on a pursuit that ended in a fiery collision at a gas station in Indio pleaded not guilty to felony charges Wednesday.
Zeus Rico of Desert Hot Springs was charged with two felony counts of resisting an officer and one count each of eluding a pursuing officer, evading arrest and cruelty to an animal, according to court records.
He pleaded not guilty to all charges Wednesday afternoon at the Larson Justice Center.
Shortly before 3 a.m. Saturday, an officer attempted to stop a 2019 Honda Civic that ran a red light as it was going east on East Palm Canyon at Van Fleet Street, according to Sgt. Daniel Anes of the Cathedral City Police Department.
The vehicle was traveling at a high rate of speed and refused to yield, leading the officer on a pursuit on Highway 111 to Indio, according to Anes. Several times, the vehicle crossed over into the opposite lanes while continuing to drive fast, police said.
“After the pursuit was canceled, the suspect traveled another 3.5 miles before he lost control and crashed near the intersection of Indio (Boulevard) and Van Buren Street,” Anes wrote in a statement. “The suspect collided with two gas pumps at the Sinclair Gas Station.”
At the impact of the collision, a fire was ignited and later contained to the vehicle and two gas pumps. It was extinguished by fire department personnel shortly afterward.
Rico briefly went to a hospital and was arrested after receiving medical clearance, Anes said. He was allegedly driving with a suspended license and had a previous DUI arrest.
Rico also had his dog with him, though the dog remained uninjured and was taken to a local animal shelter, according to Anes. Court records indicate that the dog was a husky.
According to inmate records, Rico remains held at the Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility on $100,000 bail.
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