Arraignment Set for Parolees Accused of Trying to Run Down Deputies

MURRIETA – Two parolees who allegedly tried to run over Riverside County sheriff’s deputies serving a search warrant at a San Jacinto home — prompting the lawmen to open fire — are slated to be arraigned tomorrow.

Frank Edward Ortega, 35, and Janet Clara Sanchez, 25, are each charged with attempted murder of a peace officer and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon in connection with the Aug. 16 confrontation. Ortega is additionally charged with reckless driving and being a felon in possession of illegal drugs.

Both are being held in lieu of $1 million bail — Ortega at the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside, Sanchez at the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning.

According to sheriff’s officials, the pair were preparing to leave a house in the 100 block of Lily Lane, near Elderberry Street, on the afternoon of Aug. 16 when several sheriff’s units arrived to serve multiple search warrants at the location.

Ortega started to drive away from the residence, briefly stopped, then allegedly stomped the accelerator of his pickup truck and headed toward two plainclothes deputies standing outside an unmarked vehicle.

One deputy dove out of the way to avoid being hit, and both he and his partner opened fire on the defendants, who struck the door of the sheriff’s car, a sheriff’s sergeant said. A pursuit ensued, during which deputies followed Ortega and Sanchez onto the nearby Soboba Indian Reservation, where the pickup gave out on a dirt road close to the guard shack.

The defendants fled on foot but were immediately caught. Neither was injured, nor were any deputies.

According to court records, Ortega has multiple felony convictions, including for illegal possession of firearms and spousal abuse. Sanchez has been convicted several times of felony possession of controlled substances.

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