Ex-con who led cops on two-city chase pleads guilty

RIVERSIDE, Calif. - A parolee who led police on a chase through Riverside that triggered three crashes -- including one involving a patrol car -- pleaded guilty today to felony and misdemeanor charges.

Stanley Niles Head, 29, of Riverside was arrested on Feb. 26 after a roughly half-hour pursuit that began in Moreno Valley and ended near UC Riverside.

A preliminary hearing was scheduled in the case today before Riverside County Superior Court Judge John Molloy. But prior to the hearing getting underway, the defense and prosecution announced a plea deal, under which Head acknowledged guilt on two felony counts -- vehicle theft and reckless driving -- as well as two misdemeanor counts -- spousal abuse and resisting arrest.

In exchange for his plea, the District Attorney's Office agreed to drop a felony charge against Head of receiving stolen property.

Molloy scheduled a sentencing hearing for June 18, when he's expected to certify the terms of the plea agreement and impose a seven-year prison term.  Head remains held in lieu of $1 million bail at the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside.

Riverside County sheriff's deputies began chasing the defendant, who was at the wheel of a stolen sedan, around 5 p.m. on Feb. 26 in Moreno Valley.

Deputies followed him northbound on the 60 freeway until he exited University Avenue and drove around the backside of the UCR campus at nearly 70 mph, authorities said.

Riverside police officers took over the chase at 5:15 p.m. on University Avenue. Head raced through stop lights and signs, clipping a vehicle at 14th Street and Sedgewick Avenue, police alleged.

As he circled back to the University corridor, the parolee ran into another vehicle at 11th Street and Ottawa Avenue. A pregnant woman was among the car's occupants, but she declined medical treatment, according to Riverside police Lt. Chuck Griffitts.

He said during the chase, a patrol unit and a pickup truck collided at Ottawa and University. One of the two officers in the unit suffered minor injuries and was treated and later released from Riverside Community Hospital.

Around 5:35 p.m., Head drove over a spike strip that officers deployed at University and Kansas avenues, causing the stolen car to become disabled. Griffitts said the parolee and two passengers were taken into custody without a struggle.

The passengers were questioned but not arrested.

According to Griffitts, Head committed a domestic assault a few hours before the pursuit and was wanted for questioning in connection with that incident when he stole the car.

According to court records, the defendant has prior felony convictions for robbery, illegal possession of a concealed firearm and possession of controlled substances.

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