By Taylor Smith
WOODLAND, CA – Marcelino Michel pleaded no contest Friday to charges of evading a police officer at a high speed, driving in the opposite direction of traffic, and now awaits a sentence of more than five years in prison.
The court reporter read the prosecution’s case, that on April 10, police officers were aware that there was a warrant out for Michel’s arrest when they recognized his vehicle at a gas station off of I-5 in Yolo County around the Dunnigan area.
She continued by illustrating that the accused promptly drove away from the gas station when law enforcement followed him and then pulled him over, noting, “Deputy Del Testio tried to approach Mr. Michel, had him at gunpoint and told him to stop.”
When asked to stop, Michel took off in his car at a high speed. The deputy proceeded to follow him, engaging his overhead lights and sirens.
“The defendant continued to drive at over 105 miles per hour with moderate traffic. He crossed over the center median, going Northbound on I-5,” she explained.
“He went through some county roads, and then he turned Southbound onto the Northbound I-5 on-ramp and continued to drive at a high rate of speed going the opposite direction on the freeway. He did that to evade the police,” she concluded.
Judge Peter M. Williams informed the defendant that he could end up doing three years of state prison as the consequence for this event, which would later be revealed to be an even longer sentence due to a prior strike. He would also be considered a convicted felon.
Before the accused gave his plea, the judge inquired, “Do you understand that a no contest plea is going to carry the same force and effect here today as a guilty plea, sir?”
The accused confirmed that he understood this circumstance as well as the five years and four months in prison, and proceeded to plead no contest.
As stated at the beginning of the hearing, the five years and four months consequence would consist of two years in prison, doubled based on a prior strike making it four years, one-third middle term of eight months, again doubled based on prior strike making it one year and four months, all totaling to five years and four months.
The court reporter confirmed after the plea that this prior strike was, in fact, manslaughter. They did not elaborate further on this matter.