News Column

Steven Brooks Jailed After High-speed Chase

Mar 28 2013 10:00PM

Shea Johnson, Desert Dispatch, Barstow, Calif.

Former Nevada Assemblyman Steven Brooks is in jail and being held on $100,000 bail after leading officers on a high-speed chase that ended in Victorville on Thursday, the same day he was ousted from that state's legislature.

Brooks was arrested at 6:57 p.m. by Barstow police with help from other agencies on Interstate 15 near Stoddard Wells Road in Victorville. He was booked on suspicion of resisting a peace officer with force, felony evading, willful harm to a police service dog and throwing objects from a vehicle with the intent to cause great bodily injury, according to Barstow police and booking records.

He is scheduled to be arraigned at Barstow Superior Court next week.

The Nevada Assembly voted Thursday morning to oust Brooks, after Assembly Majority Leader William Horne, D-Las Vegas, called him "potentially dangerous" and said lawmakers didn't feel safe with him in the building.

It's the first time an assemblyman has been expelled from the Nevada legislature.

At approximately 6:11 p.m., two Barstow police patrol cars responded to a report of a disturbance between a motorist and tow truck driver near Lenwood Road and the southbound I-15 offramp.

The tow truck driver told police that the motorist's vehicle had a flat tire but refused to provide payment or any form of identification.

While one officer spoke with the tow truck driver, another spoke with the man, who turned away from the officer and began quickly walking to his vehicle, according to police.

The man ignored an officer's orders to stop, the officer went to the passenger-side window of the burgundy SUV in an attempt to obtain ID.

The man refused to provide any, started the SUV and began accelerating at a high rate of speed onto the southbound I-15, police said.

Two squad cars, including a K-9 unit, began a pursuit with sirens on, Barstow police Chief Albert Ramirez confirmed.

During the chase, the man drove in and out of multiple lanes at high speeds in an attempt to evade officers while his vehicle emitted sparks due to the flat tire, according to police.

Barstow Police contacted California Highway Patrol and San Bernardino County sheriff's for assistance. A sheriff's helicopter arrived as well.

The motorist threw a number of metal objects out of the window of his vehicle during the pursuit. It was reported Thursday that one of the objects was a handgun. Ramirez said on Friday that CHP initially believed this to be true, but that a handgun had not been found.

CHP deployed a spike strip and stopped the man's vehicle on southbound I-15, just north of Stoddard Wells Road.

Officers told the man to exit the SUV and initially he refused. Eventually, the man exited but was "acting irrational," according to a police news release.

With Brooks not responding to officer's orders, the Barstow Police K-9 Unit deployed canine "Buck." The man went back inside the SUV, according to police and witnesses.

The canine entered the SUV and the man began choking the dog and hitting him with a metal socket wrench, police said. CHP and Barstow police officers attempted to place the motorist in handcuffs, but he continued to resist officers and would not comply with orders, police said.

A video uploaded to YouTube by a witness who identified herself as Jennifer L. Simpson recorded the arrest. In the video, officers appear to strike with fists and kick him after they had pulled him from the SUV and threw him to the ground. It is unclear from the video what provoked these actions because the view is partially obscured by a dirt berm near the freeway.

Ramirez said Friday he had seen the video but could not comment on it.

"Anytime officers use force, we review it and make sure an appropriate amount was used," he said. "We have to be fair to everybody involved. You do an injustice to everyone involved if you make a statement prior to knowing all the facts."

A taser was eventually used on the man before he was handcuffed.

Medical personnel arrived on scene and treated the man, who was placed on a gurney. A Barstow police officer later placed ankle restraints on him.

The man screamed and yelled intermittently while on the gurney. As he was being loaded onto an ambulance, he screamed at onlookers, saying something that sounded like "these cops are going down."

He was taken to Barstow Community Hospital where a pre-booking medical exam was performed. After the exam, he was transported to and booked at West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga, booking records show.

The dog "Buck" sustained a laceration above his right eye and a laceration to his left leg. He was taken to a veterinarian for treatment and released.

CHP officials and a representative from the towing company referred questions to Barstow police.

Nevada legislator Horne said he was saddened by the arrest.

"I hope they get Steven the help he clearly needs before he or someone else is hurt or worse," Horne said.

This is the third time Brooks has been arrested since January.

Brooks, a democrat representing North Las Vegas, is accused of making threats toward his colleagues, including Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick. Police said Brooks had a gun and ammunition in his car at the time. No charges have been filed.

He was arrested Feb. 10 at his estranged wife's home in Las Vegas after police say he threw punches and grabbed for the gun of an officer who responded to a domestic dispute. He faces a court hearing in May in Las Vegas on one felony and three lesser charges.

Horne said Brooks' unpredictable behavior -- which included missing meetings, calling news conferences he never showed up for, and posing shirtless for a Las Vegas newspaper -- had made the session look "more like a circus and daytime drama than a serious legislative body."

It led to hours of closed meetings and a Select Committee hearing Tuesday night in which a panel voted 6-1 to recommend to expel Brooks, and the expulsion became official on Thursday.

"We did not feel safe having Assemblyman Brooks in this building," Horne said. "We wanted to protect people in this building and go about our business."

Reached immediately after the vote, Brooks was aghast.

"How dare they?" Brooks told the Associated Press in a brief telephone interview. "I've been convicted of nothing."

Brooks, who won election in November by a 2-1 margin, alleged during the interview that unspecified opponents have tried to kill him. He didn't take questions.

The San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office will likely review the case on Tuesday before deciding whether or not to file charges, an official said.

Daily Press City Editor Kris Reilly reported from Victorville and Associated Press writer Ken Ritter reported from Las Vegas. Associated Press writer Michelle Rindels also contributed to this report.

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Visit the Desert Dispatch (Barstow, Calif.) at www.desertdispatch.com







Source: (c)2013 Desert Dispatch (Barstow, Calif.) Distributed by MCT Information Services


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