Fighter is charged with evading arrest, hit-and-run

Times Staff Writer

Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, a former light-heavyweight champion of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, was charged Monday with reckless driving, evading arrest and hit-and-run driving in a destructive car chase from Costa Mesa to Newport Beach last month, prosecutors said.

Jackson, 30, who was arrested July 15, allegedly left a chaotic scene in his wake, hitting at least three cars with his lifted 2008 Ford truck and driving on the sidewalk with a blown tire.

The incident began when Jackson drove over a curb in Costa Mesa, sideswiped two cars and drove away with a flat tire, authorities said. A motorcycle officer spotted Jackson weaving in and out of traffic and tried to pull him over, but the former fighting champion fled, running several red lights and crashing into a Toyota Camry, prosecutors allege.

At one point, Jackson drove onto a curb on the wrong side of the road, narrowly missing a bus stop and forcing several people to run for cover, prosecutors said. Jackson was eventually taken into custody without further incident.


The arrest came two weeks after Jackson lost the UFC light-heavyweight title, which he had held for more than a year, in a Las Vegas fight with underdog Forrest Griffin.

The day after he was arrested, police in Irvine -- where Jackson lives -- escorted him to mental health professionals after getting reports that he was acting strangely and might be a threat to himself and others.

Jackson is charged with one felony count of evading arrest while driving recklessly, one felony count of evading a peace officer and driving against traffic, three misdemeanor counts of hit-and-run with property damage, and one misdemeanor count of reckless driving.

He will be arraigned Thursday in Santa Ana. If convicted, he faces a maximum of three years in prison