Fugitive arrested in Cascade Shores after 2 days on the lam
A man who eluded capture off Chalk Bluff Road Friday despite a more than six-hour pursuit was taken into custody after he was spotted walking into Cascade Shores Sunday morning, authorities said.
John Wenzel Niece, 45, was arrested by Nevada County sheriff’s deputies outside the Cascade Shores General Store & Cafe and booked on charges of resisting arrest, as well as outstanding warrant and violating post-release community supervision. He remained in custody Monday afternoon in Nevada County jail without bail, according to Nevada County Jail records.
Friday’s pursuit began around 9 a.m. after a California Highway Patrol officer spotted a Chevrolet Tahoe with expired registration tabs at Highway 20 and Idaho Maryland Road. The driver failed to yield on an attempted traffic stop and instead fled up Idaho Maryland Road, an officer said.
The Tahoe was pursued onto Banner Lava Cap Road, then down Red Dog Cross Road to Greenhorn Creek. The Tahoe ended up crossing the creek and heading up Chalk Bluff Road, where the pursuit was taken over by a CHP helicopter and a fixed-wing plane.
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Niece eventually abandoned the Tahoe and fled on foot, and the search was called off around 3:30 p.m. Friday, authorities said.
According to dispatch reports, an arborist working in a tree on Banner Quaker Hill Road near Aurora Close called 911 to report seeing Niece walking down the road at 11:17 a.m. Sunday. Twenty minutes later, a caller from the store reported Niece was outside smoking.
After two deputies arrived at the store, Niece falsely identified himself and attempted to flee from the scene, Nevada County sheriff’s spokesman Andrew Trygg said.
“The deputies were familiar with him from previous contacts and confirmed that he was Niece,” Trygg said. “He was taken into custody after a short struggle and he was booked.”
Friday’s pursuit was spurred by reports that the Tahoe had been involved in an assault with a deadly weapon on a Yuba County deputy and evading a Nevada County deputy in mid-November.
On Nov. 16, a Yuba County sheriff’s deputy was on patrol after dark at Bullards Bar when he spotted the Tahoe parked in a day-use area, said public information officer Leslie Carbah.
“As he approached the Tahoe, the driver started the vehicle and accelerated, pinning the deputy against his patrol vehicle,” Carbah said.
The deputy had parked his vehicle in an effort to block the Tahoe in, but the driver was able to squeeze through the narrow opening, Carbah said. The deputy was uninjured and attempted to pursue the Tahoe, losing it near North San Juan.
Later that night, a Nevada County sheriff’s deputy saw the vehicle, though it failed to yield during an attempted traffic stop, Carbah said.
A criminal complaint was filed in that incident late last month by the Nevada County District Attorney’s Office. An arrest warrant was issued Jan. 7 for Niece, court records show.
Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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