Thomas Bechtold

A 29-year-old Valley Springs man suspected of hitting another man with his car was found battered and tied to a telephone pole.

The Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a case involving an alleged hit and run that occurred Friday afternoon at the intersection of Nall Street and Westhill Road in Valley Springs.

The Sheriff’s Office reports that local resident Thomas Bechtold had been involved in a verbal altercation with James Leslie, 47, also of Valley Springs, which resulted in Bechtold striking Leslie with his vehicle, rendering him unconscious before fleeing the scene.

An investigation was immediately launched, and deputies left the scene to seek Bechtold.

Approximately three hours later, the Sheriff’s Office received a report that Bechtold had been dropped off near the same intersection where the hit-and-run incident allegedly occurred. He was found battered with his hands tied behind his back, tethered to a telephone pole.

Bechtold was arrested and booked into the county jail with bail set at $2.19 million. He is charged with attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, battery with serious injury and felony hit-and-run.

Calaveras County court records show Bechtold was sentenced to approximately one year of county jail time and is currently on probation due to a domestic violence incident that occurred in 2018.

The investigation is ongoing. The Sheriff’s Office requests that anyone with information contact the anonymous tip line at 754-6030 or call the Sheriff’s Office directly at 754-6500.


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