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Auto-theft suspect accused of fleeing police in Murrieta pleads not guilty

By in Press Enterprise on November 16, 2017

By Michael Watanabe

A vehicle theft suspect who Murrieta police say led officers on a brief chase has denied charges filed against him this week, according to police and court records.

James Jude Grant, 30, pleaded not guilty Monday, Nov. 13 to two counts of assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer, one count of evading arrest, auto theft, possessing metal knuckles and various drug counts.

The incident began at 10:53 a.m. Nov. 8 after Murrieta police received a call about a suspicious vehicle at Nutmeg Street and Via Olivia, according to a Murrieta police news release. The vehicle, which was empty when officers arrived, had been reported stolen in Lake Elsinore on Oct. 1.

Murrieta police decided to keep watching the vehicle. Forty-five minutes into their surveillance, a suspect – later identified as Grant – got into the vehicle, police said. Officers tried to stop the vehicle, but authorities say Grant fled and police followed.

A half-mile into the chase, police say Grant lost control and crashed into a parked vehicle. No one was hurt.

He was charged Monday and as of Wednesday remained jailed at the Cois M. Byrd Detention Center in French Valley with bail set at $215,000.

Grant is next scheduled to be in court Nov. 22, court records show.

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