Chase runs through Ranchos; identities of driver, companion unclear |

Chase runs through Ranchos; identities of driver, companion unclear

by Scott Murphy, Staff Writer
Photo by Belinda Grant.A Douglas County sheriff's deputy deploys a spike strip on Highway 88 in an effort to stop the red truck. The driver swerved around the strip and continued into the Ranchos.

Details are still being sorted out from Thursday’s two-hour, high speed chase that began and ended in California but twisted through the Gardnerville Ranchos for nearly 30 minutes.

Arrested were Kenneth Cadwallader, 49, and 39-year-old Nicole Rhiley, the California Highway Patrol said Friday. Both are listed as transients.

The Toyota Tacoma truck, which had false New Mexico plates, was allegedly stolen from a car dealer in Henderson.

A 10-year-old girl was also detained after the chase. She was placed in custody in El Dorado County.

The truck was nearly destroyed during the crash, said Douglas County Sheriff Ron Pierini. The truck’s driver side was almost completely caved-in, he added.

Both are being held without bail in the El Dorado County Jail on felony charges of burglary and assault with a deadly weapon. Also, Alpine County, where he was ultimately arrested charged him with felony willful cruelty to a child and evading a police officer.

Rhiley faces felony burglary and assualt with a deadly weapon charges in El Dorado County. She is also charged with misdemeanor drug possession, said an El Dorado county jailer.

Alpine County charged Johnson with felony child endangerment.

Pierini said he has asked the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office to review the case and wants a charge of felony assault with a deadly weapon against Cadwallader after the suspect allegedly collided twice with Deputy Joe Sanford’s car during the chase.

Sanford’s car sustained $3,000 in damage, Pierini said.

The incident began Thursday at Staples in South Lake Tahoe. A digital camera was allegedly stolen by the couple and, after being accosted by the store’s manager, Cadwallader allegedly struck him with the truck.

The store manager remains hospitalized, Pierini said.

Initially the chase appeared to be linked with two deaths discovered at a Lake Tahoe campground.

The chase wound its way through the Ranchos, and at least twice deputies attempted to end the chase by using road spikes.

However, Cadwallader used the roads’ shoulders to avoid the spikes, Pierini said.

Pierini said deputies slowed their pursuit several times in the Ranchos because of safety concerns.

However, the suspect continued to drive about 85 mph, Pierini said, throughout the chase.

“We were very concerned about the speed,” Pierini said.

Later on Highway 395, as Cadwallader drove south toward Topaz Ranch Estates, speeds were estimated at 110 mph.

After leaving Douglas County, the chase ended near Monitor Pass after the driver wrecked the truck in a grove of aspen trees.

He was arrested about 25 minutes later, following a foot chase.