A felon released under California’s temporary emergency $0 bail rule is on the run after fleeing a traffic stop on a motorcycle.
The Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office warned residents to be on the lookout for suspect Brian Matthew Dehart, 33, of San Andreas, who should be considered armed and dangerous.
The car chase ensued early Sunday evening after a deputy attempted to pull over Dehart for speeding while he was riding a motorcycle westbound on Highway 12, east of Toyon, between San Andreas and Valley Springs. Dehart, who was carrying a female passenger, attempted to flee the deputy by turning onto Double Springs Road and accelerating away, the Sheriff’s Office reported.
Dehart then stopped at the intersection of Highways 26 and 12, near Toyon Middle School, where he reportedly yelled at his passenger to get off of the motorcycle. As she was getting off, he sped away, causing the woman’s leg to become entangled as she fell into the middle of the roadway. One deputy continued the pursuit while another stayed with the woman to administer medical aid.
During the chase, Dehart reportedly reached speeds of over 100 mph while traveling west on Highway 12, crossing over the double-yellow lines to illegally pass other vehicles.
“(Dehart) drove with no regard for the safety of others,” the Sheriff’s Office stated in a press release.
Due to the danger of the situation, the deputy terminated the pursuit on South Petersburg Road, near the Hogan Lake campgrounds.
Court records show Dehart has served jail time for felonies including vehicle theft in Calaveras County. According to the Sheriff’s Office, Dehart was awaiting adjudication for court cases in three different counties when he was released from the Calaveras County jail on April 15 under the $0 bail rule.
In early April, the Judicial Council of California adopted the temporary emergency rule as part of a plan to combat the potential spreading of the novel coronavirus within the state’s jail population. Under the rule, sheriffs throughout the state have been forced to release thousands of misdemeanor and nonviolent felony offenders.
Calaveras County Sheriff Rick DiBasilio and District Attorney Barbara Yook have been vocal in their opposition to the rule, which Gov. Gavin Newsom authorized California’s judicial council to impose.
Dehart is not the first former inmate to cause trouble in Calaveras County after his release. On April 23, a felon was arrested for a third time after being twice released from jail under the $0 bail rule and reportedly stalking multiple members of the community.
Current felony charges against Dehart include child cruelty, vehicle theft, possession of drugs for sale and possession of a firearm. He is described as a white male adult, 6 feet tall, 327 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. He was last seen riding a dark-colored motorcycle.
Anyone with information regarding Dehart’s whereabouts is urged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 754-6500.