MURRIETA – A felon and her partner in crime who carjacked a Lake Elsinore motorist and then attempted to flee from sheriff’s deputies were both sentenced Wednesday to state prison.
Cindy Victoria Cline, 19, and 23-year-old Alejandro Villegas entered plea agreements last month in which she admitted a carjacking charge and he admitted one count each of eluding a peace officer and being an accessory to a felony.
Riverside County Superior Court Judge Mark Mandio certified the terms of the plea deals and imposed the sentences stipulated by the prosecution and defense – a three-year prison term for Cline, and a two-year term for Villegas.
According to sheriff’s Sgt. Brett Seckinger, shortly after 7 a.m. May 26, Cline, Villegas and a still-unidentified man confronted a motorist near the intersection of Lakeshore Drive and Lindsey Street. One defendant brandished a pistol at the victim, compelling him to hand over the keys to his vehicle, Seckinger said.
Cline took off in the car, while her two cohorts fled in a compact sedan with tinted windows, according to sheriff’s investigators.
About nine hours later, deputies patrolling the area of Lakeshore Drive and Poe Street spotted the stolen vehicle and signaled the driver – now Villegas – to stop, but he floored it instead, according to Seckinger.
He said the ensuing pursuit went west on Franklin Street, where the defendant drove into a dirt field near Auto Center Drive and eventually ended up in a ravine, where he lost control of the vehicle and got stuck.
Villegas then tried to flee on foot, but was chased down seconds later and taken into custody without a fight, Seckinger said.
No one was injured.
It took more than two months to track down and arrest Cline. Villegas was unable to post a $35,000 bond and remained in custody the entire time, according to jail records.
Court records show he has a prior conviction for petty theft, while Cline has priors for hit-and-run resulting in property damage and vandalism.