Liz Kellar

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December 24, 2013
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Parolee leads Nevada County Sheriff's deputies on high-speed chase

A parolee at large led Nevada County Sheriff’s deputies on a high-speed chase down Highway 174 and a number of back roads before a spike strip ended his escape attempt Tuesday.

Tuesday morning, a parole agent from Sacramento County contacted local authorities to assist a fugitive apprehension team looking for Robert Johnathan McGrath, 28, said Sheriff’s Sgt. Justin Martin.

McGrath was a parolee at large believed to be in Grass Valley, but deputies were unable to locate his vehicle, Martin said.

McGrath eventually was determined to be staying near Burma Road and his vehicle was located. A deputy called for additional units, which were to meet at Burma and Brunswick roads. While the additional units were responding, McGrath drove by on Highway 174 at about 3:50 p.m., Martin said.

A deputy pulled in behind him and activated his vehicle’s lights and sirens near Laws Ranch Road — but McGrath reportedly turned onto Laws Ranch and accelerated with the deputy in pursuit.

McGrath reportedly then turned onto Lower Colfax Road and then onto Powerline before getting back on Highway 174 heading toward Chicago Park. He then turned right onto Mt. Olive Road and then to Dog Bar Road, reportedly reaching speeds of 80 mph, according to scanner traffic.

At one point, pursuing vehicles slowed down because they were kicking up too much dust on the dirt road.

In between the one-lane bridge on Dog Bar Road and Placer Hills Road, Placer County Sheriff’s deputies were able to deploy a spike strip, Martin said. McGrath’s vehicle hit the spike strip, reportedly blowing out three of its tires, before turning onto Placer Hills Road and stopping in a nearby driveway.

Nevada and Placer County Sheriff’s deputies took McGrath into custody and while searching him, located Ritalin, Martin said.

McGrath was booked into Wayne Brown Correctional Facility on a felony no-bail warrant, as well as on suspicion of possessing a controlled substance and felony evasion of a peace officer, Martin said.

McGrath had been arrested in December 2012 after being linked to a stolen vehicle in Grass Valley.

A Nevada County Sheriff’s deputy on the lookout for a stolen Honda allegedly spotting him trying to wipe his fingerprints from the car in question. McGrath eventually pleaded no contest to being an accessory after the fact and failing to appear for a court date.

In July of this year, he was arrested and charged with driving on a suspended license. He pleaded no contest but failed to appear for his sentencing date in November.

To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, email or call 530-477-4229.

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The Union Updated Dec 24, 2013 10:14PM Published Dec 26, 2013 10:27PM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.