Motorcycle rider headed to trial

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An Arbuckle man accused of evading an officer and driving with wanton disregard for human life turned down a plea offer of two years in prison, opting instead to take his chances with a jury or at getting a better offer.

Roberto “Bobby” Tapia was arrested Sept. 9, 2019, after he allegedly led a Colusa County Sheriff’s Deputy on a pursuit through residential areas on a dirt bike.

Deputy Luis Ruiz testified at a preliminary hearing on Feb. 26 that he attempted to initiate a traffic stop with overhead lights and sirens on 6th Street, in Arbuckle, around 10 PM, after the motorcycle blew past him at a high rate of speed.

Ruiz, who had been parked at the Arbuckle Fire Hall, said he pursued the bike, which ran through two stop signs with no working headlight, and continued through residential areas at speeds well over the 25 mph limit.

Ruiz testified that Tapia turned his head toward him at least once during the pursuit, yet still failed to pull over, and often pulled away from the Sheriff’s SUV by accelerating his speed.

Tapia eventually crashed the bike at the end of Gail Avenue, in Arbuckle, after laying the bike down on its side and skidding to a stop just short of the ditch, Ruiz said.

Tapia suffered only minor scrapes and was taken into custody without incident.

Ruiz said the pursuit lasted about one minute, with Tapia nearly losing control and skidding in the gravel twice before the pursuit concluded.

Tapia’s attorney, John K. Hinely, argued that charges for vehicle code infractions were warranted, but that driving with wanton disregard to human life was too steep, as the incident occurred late at night, no motorists or pedestrians were impacted, and is Tapia surrendered peacefully without incident.

Tapia, who has a long criminal history, is scheduled to appear in Colusa County Superior Court on March 25 where he will be arraigned on the felony evading charge.

Tapia is also scheduled the same day to enter a plea on a domestic violence charge and for a pretrial conference for possession of a controlled substance, both separate cases. ■

Susan Meeker
Susan Meeker is the Editor and Reporter for the Pioneer Review. She started her position with the Pioneer Review in January 2017 as the Advertising Manager. Susan specializes in local crime, government reporting. She also loves covering the various topics and events in our county. You can send her a message at susan@colusacountynews.net