High speed driving leads to misdemeanor, felony charges

Steve Gerace

A Mount Shasta man is out on bail after being booked on two felony and two misdemeanor charges Tuesday morning of last week. He is accused of driving at speeds in excess of 70 miles per hour on city streets, at times while being pursued by law enforcement officers from the MSPD, Sheriff’s Office and CAL FIRE.

Mount Shasta Police Department Lieutenant Joe Restine said the 2013 Honda Fit driven by James Edward Thomas, age 56, was pursued on and off for about 14 minutes on Pine Street, Lake Street, Old Stage Road and Mt. Shasta Blvd.

Restine said the suspect turned his car around three times and drove head-on toward law enforcement vehicles, which moved out of the way to avoid a collision.

The chase ended, according to Mount Shasta Police Department reports, when Thomas drove into the alley east of 311 Alma St., stopped, got out of the Fit, jumped onto a Sheriff’s vehicle, and started hitting the window with his fist.

Restine said he was eventually tased after “swinging and kicking and refusing to follow (officers’) instructions.”

He sustained some injuries while resisting arrest, Restine said, and was taken to the hospital for medical clearance.

Restine said Thomas was booked into jail on felony charges of evading arrest and assault with a deadly weapon and misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest and possession of psilocybin mushrooms.

Thomas posted bail the following day and was released from jail with a court date set for June 24 at 9 a.m., according to Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Department Assistant Public Information Officer Allison Giannini.

Restine said multiple 911 calls were received the morning of June 2 beginning at about 7:12 a.m. He said the first call reported a subject driving 90 miles per hour and honking his horn in front of Mount Shasta High School.

Another call came in from Mount Shasta Elementary School reporting reckless driving, high speed and honking, according to Restine.

Mount Shasta Police reports show the first contact law enforcement had with the subject was at 7:13 a.m. when a vehicle driving at high speed and honking the horn came up behind a CAL FIRE law enforcement vehicle on Pine St.

Restine said CAL FIRE at first thought the driver might be trying to get to the hospital quickly, but after the vehicle passed and went out of sight, CAL FIRE was unable to locate it in the hospital parking lot.

The Fit was in and out of view of officers during the pursuits that followed, according to Restine, who said law enforcement was cautious about how fast it pursued while in town in order to not “pose more of a threat.”

Restine said the suspect crossed double yellow lines on Mt. Shasta Blvd. and was “non-compliant with hospital staff.”