SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A man who was on drugs when he stole a sheriff's cruiser and led officers on a 23-mile pursuit from Poway to Carmel Valley was Monday handed a four-year state prison term.
Sean Michael Webber, 30, pleaded guilty last month to auto theft and DUI charges and admitted a prior DUI conviction. The defendant also admitted a 2007 assault conviction from Los Angeles County, where he shot at a drug dealer, and being an ex-felon in possession of a weapon.
San Diego Superior Court Judge Eugenia Eyherabide ordered Webber to pay $2,640 to the city of Poway and $715 to a management company. A March 29 hearing was scheduled to determine if the city of Poway is due an additional $6,843 in restitution.
Webber had been diagnosed with paranoid delusional disorder and believed members of the sheriff's volunteer patrol were beckoning him to the cruiser last Oct. 2 at Midland and Twin Peaks roads, according to defense attorney Brad Patton.
The defendant put his car in park, walked up to the sheriff's cruiser with the key in it, and drove off, Patton said.
The Sheriff's Department senior volunteer patrol was in the area assisting with traffic control for Poway's annual "Tour de Poway" cycling event at the time. Two members of the volunteer patrol were standing near the cruiser when Webber stole it, said Sgt. Daniel Vengler.
A deputy spotted the vehicle minutes later and a pursuit ensued, according Vengler, who said Webber led deputies out of Poway toward the coast.
San Diego police assisted with the pursuit until authorities decided to back off and let a sheriff's helicopter crew follow the stolen cruiser. The California Highway Patrol also assisted by closing intersections.
Webber eventually drove to the end of a cul-de-sac in the Carmel Valley area, stopping briefly before barreling through a fence to get to another street, Vengler said.
He then drove backward slowly toward the sheriff's, San Diego police and CHP vehicles that had converged on the area, but then bounded out of the still-moving cruiser and surrendered, Vengler said.
The vehicle came to a stop on its own and the only property damage was to the fence Webber crashed through and to the cruiser, Vengler said, noting no one was injured in the 38-minute pursuit.
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