RICHMOND (CBS SF) — Two teens have been arrested and charged with attempted murder after allegedly running over a Richmond police officer as he attempted to break-up an illegal sideshow early Sunday morning, authorities said.
Richmond Police Chief Allwyn Brown told reporters that the couple was taken into custody on Sunday after their vehicle was found “damaged and abandoned” on Richmond’s Marina Bay Parkway.
“A couple showed up …at a South San Francisco location trying to report the car stolen later Sunday afternoon,” Brown said. “Our PD traffic investigators went to South San Francisco and arrested both of them.”
Brown said Juan Vargas, 18 of Patterson, who was the driver, and his 18-year-old girlfriend — Genesis Diaz-Castaneda — were in custody at the Contra Costa County Jail on attempted murder, conspiracy and making a false police report charges. Bail has been set at $240,000.
The officer injured, Brown said, has been released from the hospital. The eight-year veteran suffered a variety of injuries including broken bones, cuts to his head and road rash.
“Richmond has seen an increase in sideshow activity lately,” Brown said. “We are re-thinking our readiness to address these events.”
Among the steps the Richmond police will be doing will be expanding its social media monitoring of sideshow posts to identify the “actors” and spectators involved and using infared drones to videotape sideshow as they are in progress.
Brown said the latest incident began early Sunday morning when “this flash mob of reckless driving” gathered at Marina Bay Parkway just north of Regatta Boulevard around 1 a.m.
Richmond police Lt. Felix Tan said police had been alerted by 911 calls reporting the illegal activity.
“You could hear police sirens come on but it took them a long time,” Bruce Brown, a Marina Bay Parkway resident, told KPIX 5. “They (the sideshow drivers) were having fun out here.”
Tan said arriving officers found 40-50 cars, many of them spinning doughnuts and screeching tires.
While officers were trying to stop a few cars for vehicle code violations, one of the cars sped toward an officer who was on foot.
“He was struck by one of the vehicles,” Tan said. “He actually landed on the hood of the car and rolled up onto the windshield and then rolled off the car onto the roadway. And he was narrowly missed getting ran over by other cars passing.”
The car sped off southbound on Marina Bay Parkway, leaving the injured officer in the middle of the road.
Anyone with any information is asked to call the department’s Traffic Unit Sgt. Pomeroy at (510) 621-1578.
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