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The People v. Manuel Ritesh Prasad

March 19, 2013

THE PEOPLE, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
MANUEL RITESH PRASAD, DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



(Super. Ct. No. 09F02824)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Blease , Acting P. J.

P. v. Prasad CA3

NOT TO BE PUBLISHED

California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

Following a jury trial, defendant Manuel Ritesh Prasad was convicted of reckless driving while fleeing from a pursuing peace officer (Veh. Code, § 2800.2, subd. (a)),*fn1 willfully driving a vehicle on the wrong side of the road during flight from a pursuing peace officer (§ 2800.4), misdemeanor hit and run (§ 20002, subd. (a)), and driving on a revoked license, a misdemeanor (§ 14601.1, subd. (a)). Defendant admitted six prior convictions for driving with a suspended license (§ 14601, subd. (a)), and the trial court sentenced him to 16 months in state prison.

On appeal, defendant contends the trial court failed to properly advise him of his rights regarding his prior convictions, it should have sentenced him to county jail pursuant to the Criminal Justice Realignment Act of 2011 (Stats. 2011, ch. 15, § 482; Stats. 2011, ch. 39, § 53; and Stats. 2011, 1st Ex. Sess., ch. 12, § 35; hereafter Realignment Act), and there is insufficient evidence to sustain the hit and run conviction. We affirm.

BACKGROUND

On April 10, 2009, at around 8:13 p.m., California Highway Patrol Investigator Cory Shell and his partner, Investigator Blake Schnabel, were on undercover assignment for the Sacramento County Auto Theft Suppression Task Force. They were in an unmarked car in Del Paso Heights when Investigator Shell noticed a Honda sedan emitting white lights from its tail lamps, a violation of section 24600, subdivision (e). Investigator Shell activated his siren and red and blue lights to initiate an enforcement stop. The Honda, driven by defendant, immediately pulled over to the right shoulder. Investigator Shell parked behind defendant's car.

As both investigators exited their car and approached the Honda, defendant drove off at a high rate of speed. The investigators returned to their car and pursued defendant. During the pursuit, defendant committed numerous traffic violations, including driving 70 miles per hour in a residential area, driving on the wrong side of the road, and running two red lights and five or six stop signs.

The pursuit ended when defendant crashed his car into a cinder block wall on the opposite side of the roadway when trying to turn left at a high rate of speed. Both the car and the wall were damaged, with pieces of the damaged wall missing.

Defendant fled from the Honda on foot. He ignored Investigator Schnabel's command "stop, freeze, police," and ran into a residential area. Defendant was located by a Sacramento Police Department helicopter about 25 minutes later.

Testifying on his own behalf, defendant claimed he was threatened by the members of the opposing team at a soccer game on the night of the incident. He did not hear the police siren and thought the flashing lights were high beams when he pulled over. Defendant drove off because he was scared. There were no lights other than headlights on the vehicle that followed him, and he could not hear the siren because his car's exhaust was too loud. Defendant lost control of his car because the "brake froze."

DISCUSSION

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