Man gets over 11 years for reckless taxi-jacking spree

Bay City News

(BCN) — A Salinas man on Thursday pleaded no contest to multiple charges stemming from stealing a taxi in 2022, the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office said.

Adrian Gonzalez, 28, pleaded no contest to carjacking, assault with a deadly weapon, driving under the influence and causing great bodily injury and evading police.

It all began on Oct. 11, 2022, when Gonzalez requested a taxi at the Home Depot on North Davis Road in Salinas. Shortly after picking up Gonzalez, the driver said he began acting strangely and making nonsensical comments, prosecutors said. The female driver asked Gonzalez to exit the taxi, which he initially did, but then he pulled the woman out of her taxi, punched her in the face and threw her to the ground.

On October 11, 2022, just after 1:30 p.m., Gonzalez called for a taxi to pick him up near the Home Depot on North Davis Road in Salinas. Shortly after picking Gonzalez up the taxi driver noticed that Gonzalez was acting strangely and making nonsensical comments. The taxi driver quickly became afraid and asked Gonzalez to get out of the vehicle. Gonzalez initially complied and got out but then pulled the female driver out of the taxi, punched her in the face, and threw her to the ground. Gonzalez then took the keys and drove off in the taxi. The woman immediately called police.

Gonzalez was spotted by Salinas Police almost two hours later, still driving the stolen taxi. He was seen entering U.S. Highway 101 southbound at Boronda Road. After getting on the highway, Gonzalez quickly accelerated to speeds exceeding 100 mph, prosecutors said.

Police pursued Gonzalez southbound on Highway 101 until California Highway Patrol Officers were able to take over. As they followed Gonzalez, officers observed him repeatedly strike other vehicles on the roadway in what appeared to be attempts to cause accidents. Due to the dangerous nature of the driving, the pursuit was called off as Gonzalez passed through the unincorporated community of Chualar.

CHP officers continued to watch Gonzalez from a distance and observed him exit Highway 101 north of Soledad. After he exited the highway, Gonzalez turned around and re-entered the wrong side of Highway 101, heading northbound in the southbound lanes. Gonzalez drive against traffic for several miles before colliding head-on with a Ford Focus, causing serious injuries to its two occupants.

Gonzalez was arrested at the scene and found to be under the combined influence of methamphetamine, morphine and cannabis.

According to prosecutors, based on his plea, Gonzalez will receive a stipulated sentence of 11 years and 8 months in state prison.

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2024-01-05 13:38:31 , News | KRON4

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