A Lodi man convicted of evading authorities at 80 miles per hour and intentionally ramming a police car was sentenced to seven years in prison on Monday in San Joaquin County Superior Court.
In November, a jury convicted Emiliano Rivera, 38, of two counts of assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm, one count of recklessly evading police with wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property, and violating the terms of his parole.
On Monday, Judge Michael Garrigan denied Rivera’s probation request and sentenced him to seven years in a state prison and to pay $3,800 in restitution for the damage caused to a Lodi Police Department patrol vehicle.
“Certainly this was a very dangerous act,” Garrigan said.
Lodi police, with assistance from Sheriff’s deputies and U.S. Marshals Service, arrested Rivera in June, more than two weeks after fleeing authorities during a high-speed pursuit.
On May 25, Lodi police officers attempted to speak to Rivera, who was sitting in a Chevy Avalanche with expired tags on Flora Street. But when officers approached, Rivera sped away.
He stopped Avalanche near Lawrence Avenue and Main Street, put the vehicle into reverse and drove into a police car with two officers inside, pushing it backwards more than 20 feet. Rivera then sped toward two other police vehicles, which drove onto a curb in order to avoid another collision.
Officers called off the pursuit when Rivera fled south on Main Street. Rivera was on parole following a prior prison stint.
In a Stockton courtroom on Monday, Deputy District Attorney Mark Ott, after requesting Garrigan sentence Rivera to eight years and four months in prison, said Rivera’s reckless behavior was similar to the circumstances that police believe were the cause of a traffic collision that killed six members of a Lodi family in October.
“(Rivera) took the public’s safety into his own hands,” Ott said.
Outside the courtroom, Ott hoped Rivera’s sentence would discourage others thinking about committing a similar offense.
“I still believe this guy was a very dangerous man,” Ott said. “This sends a strong message to people who are going to flee from police — don’t engage in this kind of conduct or there are going to be significant penalties. This is really deadly conduct.”
Rivera, who spoke during Monday’s sentencing, said drugs and alcohol have taken his life down a “bad road.” He blamed methamphetamine for his actions in May and said he would not have made the same choices “with a sober mind.”
Rivera requested a one-day release from custody in order to deal with family issues, which Garrigan denied.
Contact reporter Kristopher Anderson at email@example.com.