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Kidnapping suspect who rammed police cars during chase in Costa Mesa gets 15 years in prison

Kidnapping suspect who rammed police cars during chase in Costa Mesa gets 15 years in prison
Juan Manuel Reyes, 36, was sentenced Friday to 15 years in prison for felony assault with a deadly weapon and evading arrest, among other charges. (File Photo)

A 36-year-old man was sentenced Friday to 15 years in state prison for ramming two patrol cars while being chased by Costa Mesa police in 2012.

Juan Manuel Reyes was found guilty by an Orange County Superior Court jury in November of two felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon, one felony count of evading arrest and one misdemeanor count of hit-and-run with property damage, according to the Orange County district attorney's office.

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The pursuit began just before 5 p.m. Sept. 11, 2012, when a Costa Mesa police officer saw Reyes driving a Toyota Camry in the 3000 block of Coolidge Avenue.

Santa Ana authorities had asked Costa Mesa police to keep an eye out for Reyes, who was wanted on suspicion of kidnapping his ex-girlfriend at gunpoint and keeping her in hotels for 11 days, police said at the time.

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The officer tried to get Reyes to pull over, but he led officers on a high-speed chase through Costa Mesa, according to police testimony at Reyes' preliminary hearing in November 2013.

Authorities said Reyes struck two patrol cars and accelerated toward an officer during the pursuit. At one point, an officer fired three shots at Reyes' car, but he was not hit.

The Camry eventually broke down near the intersection of Sunflower Avenue and Main Street in Santa Ana, and Reyes was taken into custody, authorities said.

Reyes' attorney, Renee Garcia, argued during the preliminary hearing that her client was afraid and fled when police opened fire and that he was not trying to hit them.

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In connection with the kidnapping allegations, which are being prosecuted separately, Reyes is facing 11 felony charges, including carjacking, assault with a deadly weapon, kidnapping and criminal threats.

He has pleaded not guilty to all those counts and is scheduled for a pretrial hearing Feb. 5, according to court records.

Twitter: @HannahFryTCN

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