News

Five suspects nabbed after downtown Palo Alto hit-and-run

Mountain View police aided in block-by-block search; three suspects hiding in a shed

A manhunt for suspects in a downtown Palo Alto hit-and-run concluded early Friday evening at a Waverley Street shed, where three people who were involved in the collision were reportedly hiding, police said.

Palo Alto police, aided by officers from neighboring jurisdictions, two K-9 units and a California Highway Patrol helicopter, scoured downtown streets for more than two hours Friday afternoon after the suspects' vehicle struck a bicyclist on Homer Avenue, causing her major injuries.

At about 6 p.m., a police dog led officers to the shed on the 700 block of Waverley. Police arrested Jonah Theallo Johnson, 20, of Oakland, Johntaeja S. Carpenter and Johnquaeja Dupreshamichelle Carpenter, both 18 of Stockton, on an assortment of charges. Officers had determined that Johntaeja Carpenter was the driver and charged her with felony hit-and-run, police stated in a news release.

Two other suspects who police said were in the vehicle -- D'Marco Aaron Hal, 18, of Oakland, and Daniel Lamar Lesley, 18, of Lathrop -- were captured earlier in the afternoon, closer to the scene of the incident.

Police determined that Hal was also the outstanding suspect from the December burglary of the downtown Apple Store -- an incident in which 10 burglars shattered the store's glass front by driving a rented SUV through it.

The bicyclist, a woman in her 40s, reportedly suffered several broken bones and other injuries. She is expected to survive, police said.

The accident occurred a little before 3:30 p.m. Police said an officer was trying to stop a vehicle, a Volkswagen Touareg, for an infraction on Emerson Street, near Homer Avenue, when the vehicle sped off. Police said the driver made a left on Homer -- which is a one-way street -- against traffic.

When the officer turned the corner, the suspect vehicle was no longer in sight, police said. The officer saw an injured bicyclist on the ground with serious injuries and stopped to render aid.

Police said a doctor also provided some aid to the biker before she was transported to a local hospital with several broken bones.

Witnesses who saw the Volkswagen told the police that the suspects had stopped in the 700 block of Ramona Street. Five suspects were seen running out of the car. Minutes after the incident was reported, police found and apprehended Hal and Lesley on Forest Avenue.

Police then began a block-by-block search focused on the area just south of University, including portions of Bryant, Cowper and Waverley streets. They set up a perimeter with assistance from the California Highway Patrol, the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office and police officers from Mountain View, Menlo Park and Stanford University. The perimeter was bounded by Cowper and Ramona streets and included Homer, Channing and Forest avenues.

Because Johnson and the Carpenters had jumped fences as they tried to escape, officers had to lift the police dogs over fences as they followed the suspects' scent, Agent Marianna Villaescusa said.

The break in the case came at about 6 p.m., when Kodiak, a police dog from Sunnyvale, sniffed out the trio and led his partner, Officer Bill Whitaker, to the shed, which was within the perimeter area. Villaescusa said the three hid behind many different objects in the shed and officers may have missed them if Kodiak hadn't sniffed them out and started barking.

The three refused commands to surrender and had to be taken into custody with the help of the K-9 team. One woman was allegedly "nipped" by a police dog and was treated at the scene, while the other complained of a bite (though there was no evidence of the bite, Villaescusa said).

All five suspects were booked in the Santa Clara County Main Jail at about 2 a.m. Saturday morning. In addition to the felony hit and run, Johntaeja Carpenter was charged with felony evading, misdemeanor prowling and misdemeanor resisting/delaying arrest.

Police also learned that Johnson was on parole for robbery and had a no-bail felony warrant out for his arrest for a parole violation, according to the news release. He and Johnquaeia Dupreshamichelle Carpenter were both charged with misdemeanor prowling and misdemeanor resisting/delaying arrest (Johnson was also charged for his parole violation).

Hal was booked for burglary, vandalism and participating in a street gang while committing a felony for the Dec. 4 burglary at the Apple Store (all of these charges are felonies). Police are recommending that Hal also be charged with a misdemeanor resisting/delaying arrest, the same charge on which Lesley was booked

Officers didn't find any weapons in the car, and the car had not been reported stolen, Villaescusa said. And aside from Hal's participation in the Apple Store burglary, police are not aware of any other connections the suspects have to any previous Palo Alto crimes. Police said they are continuing to investigate the case.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the police department's 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to paloalto@tipnow.org or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through the department's free mobile app, downloadable at bit.ly/PAPD-AppStore or bit.ly/PAPD-GooglePlay.

Comments

2 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Mar 19, 2017 at 11:13 am

Best wishes to the victim


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