A probationer who allegedly stole a tractor in Lake Elsinore and attempted to elude sheriff's deputies by driving into fields and plowing through fences was charged Wednesday with auto theft and other felonies.
Along with the theft count, Avalos was charged with reckless driving and vandalism. He appeared before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Timothy Freer, who appointed him a public defender, scheduled an April 1 felony settlement conference and set bail at $100,000.
According to Riverside County sheriff's Sgt. Nathan Kaas, the defendant was spotted driving a Caterpillar Skid Steer Tractor eastbound on state Route 74 with no lights, prompting a deputy to attempt a traffic stop.
Avalos allegedly ignored the patrol unit and continued along 74 for a brief period before cutting across a field at Conrad Avenue and Third Street, Kaas said.
"The tractor drove through three fences in an attempt to evade the sheriff's helicopter overhead," the sergeant said.
He said Avalos drove north toward the El Toro Cutoff but abandoned the rig before reaching the dirt roadway. He fled on foot but was apprehended within minutes, Kaas said.
According to court records, Avalos has a separate case pending from last July with almost identical allegations. Records indicate he has a misdemeanor driving under the influence conviction from 2010, for which he was sentenced to probation.
– City News Service.