By Armando Alonzo
SACRAMENTO – Tyrell Cousins tried to buy his escape when he fled from police last May, but his money wasn’t good enough and he was arrested, after diving out of a moving, stolen car, according to testimony at his preliminary hearing Wednesday in Sacramento County Superior Court.
Cousins and a woman surrendered to police officers after being chased for allegedly driving a stolen vehicle.
Police said Cousins—after a long chase—dove out of a stolen Chevy as it was moving about 10 miles per hour. They chased him on foot after he was seen jumping a fence into a nearby apartment complex.
A resident there who asked to remain anonymous motioned to officers, saying that a man that he described to be black, wearing a grey sweater, tried to offer him $100 in exchange for hiding him.
The resident also apparently heard a nearby door being broken into. Officers who investigated the noise found an apartment door with damages and signs of forced entry.
According to testimony Wednesday at Cousins’ preliminary hearing, officers, after receiving permission from that apartment’s official resident, brought canines and called announcements to the suspect inside. Cousins then surrendered along with a woman, Miyaka Oliphant, whom police officers do not recall seeing during the pursuit.
Cousins, faced seven total charges, including one felony count for willfully evading and driving in traffic the wrong way, a second felony for willfully evading a pursuing police officer, a third for vehicle theft and driving a car valued at more than $950, a felony for “receiving stolen property,” a fifth felony for being in possession of burglary tools, another count for unlawfully resisting or delaying Sacramento police officers, and lastly, a count for trespassing,
Brian Walker, a police officer who has served for Sacramento’s police department for 15 years now, testified at the preliminary hearing as the on-duty officer who was first in pursuit of Cousins.
Walker, on that May 22 evening, said he had responded to a pod hit, which is a notification that occurs when a camera pod detects the license plate of a reportedly stolen vehicle.
Walker said he found the stolen Chevy soon after and followed it as it drove throughout south Sacramento. The car, he said, sped through streets like Luther Drive at speeds between 50 to 75 miles per hour in areas with posted speed limits at 25 miles per hour. It was also driving with its lights off, and at one point seemed to accidentally swerve into a westbound lane going against traffic.
Walker remembered following the Chevy until it slowed to a speed of about 10 miles per hour, in which the in-custody defendant allegedly then dove out. The vehicle collided with an apartment complex metal fence, over which the defendant climbed over to escape. Policemen arrived on the scene and set a perimeter around the complex before making the arrest.
A second officer, Andrew Cunningham, testified Wednesday, noting that he had been a part of the perimeter around the complex and had also contacted the registered owner of the stolen Chevy, T. W.. She confirmed that that vehicle was her vehicle. After seeing the defendant, she also confirmed that she did not know him and definitely he should not have been driving it.
After some cross-examination from the defendant’s Assistant Public Defender Paul Gomez, the witnesses only confirmed that the person they saw before them in the virtual court was the same person they saw that evening. Walker had also reported that the defendant had faced him when his patrol car’s light was on, illuminating his face for the policeman to see.
After neither party had further evidence to submit, Gomez argued that the third felony count should be downgraded to a misdemeanor because, he said, there was no evidence that the car was worth $950 or more at the time.
Deputy District Attorney Gregory Hayes argued that the law still applied because the count was based on the condition that the vehicle was in when it was stolen. After a brief discussion and deliberation, Judge James P. Arguelles decided to strike the language of “and taking a” and “value of $950 or more” in order to charge Cousins instead with unlawful driving of a stolen vehicle belonging to another individual.
The judge ruled there was enough evidence to hold the defendant for trial, set for June.
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