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Menlo Park: Driver in dramatic police chase could face prison time

 

A sentence of up to two years in prison could be ahead for a 36-year-old driver who led Menlo Park police on a dramatic chase in July that involved running stop signs, and colliding with another vehicle and a fire hydrant. The pursuing officer was injured after striking a curb with her motorcycle.

Evaimalo Palemene, 36, of East Palo Alto pleaded no-contest on Dec. 5 to one count of resisting arrest and one count of evading a police officer, according to a report from the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office.

Both counts are felonies and prosecutors sought a maximum of three years in prison, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said. Mr. Palemene remains in jail on a $100,000 bail, prosecutors said. His next court appearance is a sentencing hearing set for Jan. 23.

The incident that led to Mr. Palemene's arrest took place on July 11, when a Menlo Park police officer on a motorcycle observed a driver run a stop sign at the intersection of Hamilton Avenue and Sage Street in Menlo Park while talking on a cellphone, prosecutors said.

When the officer tried to stop the driver in traffic, the driver made a U-turn and sped away. A chase ensued with the driver doing 50 mph in a 30 mph zone, running another stop sign and broadsiding a vehicle that was leaving a gas station about seven blocks away, prosecutors said.

The driver lost control and spun out, collided with a fire hydrant and left the vehicle, fleeing to a strip mall, prosecutors said.

The police officer struck a curb with her motorcycle and was thrown into a light pole, leaving her with a broken wrist, prosecutors said.

Officers found Mr. Palemene "hiding in bushes near the railroad tracks," prosecutors said.

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