SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A 21-year-old man who stole a taxicab minutes after being released from the downtown jail, then led police on a short road chase before being re-arrested, was sentenced Tuesday to credit for jail time served and had his felony convictions reduced to misdemeanors.
Qais Yonisi pleaded guilty last December to felony auto theft and possession of a controlled substance, with the understanding that those convictions would be reduced to misdemeanors if he completed a drug rehabilitation program.
Deputy District Attorney Jessica Coto told Judge Charles Gill that Yonisi had successfully completed the 31-day drug and alcohol treatment program and agreed to the charges being reduced to misdemeanors.
Gill gave Yonisi credit for nine days in jail and placed the defendant on three years probation.
Yonisi was originally arrested Nov. 5 on drug charges. He bailed out of jail about 6 a.m. the next day and jumped into the back of a taxi, telling the cabbie that someone was trying to kill him and to drive off.
A short time later, Yonisi wrested control of the taxi from the cabbie, according to prosecutors.
Officers caught up with Yonisi a short time later on State Route 15, near Market Street, SDPD spokesman Ed Zwibel said. The defendant refused to yield and fled to the north, entering Interstate 805 before exiting onto University Avenue in North Park.
Yonisi proceeded to flee to the west and south for a short distance, then pulled over in the 3800 block of Boundary Street and surrendered peacefully.