U-Haul chase passenger admits he had used dope
An 18-year-old Gardnerville Ranchos man admitted he was high on marijuana when a friend stole a U-Haul truck and the two eluded police July 13.
Michael Mitchell pleaded guilty Wednesday to eluding a police officer. East Fork Justice Court Judge Jim EnEarl sentenced him for violating his probation for a June domestic violence conviction.
Mitchell is scheduled to return to court Sept. 22 for sentencing on the obstruction charge.
As police chased a U-Haul stolen by Roderick MacLeod, 19, the early morning of July 13, Mitchell jumped from the vehicle in Indian Hills and told police he had been held at gunpoint.
That turned out to be untrue. Apparently, Mitchell and MacLeod knew each other and had been hanging out together that morning.
Mitchell told EnEarl he had no idea the U-Haul was stolen until MacLeod told him he found it with the keys in the ignition.
“All I know is, I was worried he was gonna hit somebody, sir,” Mitchell said.
Roderick was driving quickly and erratically up Spooner on Highway 50.
“And you did this all stone-cold sober?” the judge asked.
“No, I wasn’t drunk, sir,” he said.
“You weren’t drunk?”
“So you were sober?”
“But you weren’t drunk?”
“Sir, I was high on marijuana,” Mitchell replied.
EnEarl sentenced him to 90 days in the Douglas County jail for violating his probation on the domestic violence charge. That was the recommendation from Douglas County Chief Criminal Deputy District Attorney Kristine Brown, who argued that the entire 90-day suspended sentence should be imposed.
“He showed total disregard for the rules of probation,” she said. “I don’t know why anyone should waste time supervising him.”
Mitchell also failed to pay a $35 fine by July 12 and supply proof of enrollment in an anger-management class. Deputies arrested him July 13 at the Mica Chevron after he jumped from the U-Haul. Officials tested him the next day for drugs. His tests returned positive for methamphetamine and marijuana.
MacLeod, charged with felony eluding a police officer and two felony counts of assaulting officers with a deadly weapon, appeared in Tahoe Township Justice Court on Tuesday.
His case was continued until Aug. 3 as attorneys wait for additional police reports.