Jury convicts Lario Garcia Tugas of evading a peace officer and other related offenses
Author: District Attorney
5/24/2022 5:04:48 PM
A San Luis Obispo County jury found Lario Garcia Tugas (DOB 05/31/1979) guilty of evading a peace officer with reckless disregard for the safety of others, driving a stolen motorcycle, and driving on a suspended license. The jury also found true that Tugas had been released from custody on bail when he drove the stolen motorcycle.
The convictions stem from two separate incidents where Tugas (42) fled after being stopped by officers for driving violations. The first incident occurred on Highway 101 shortly before 2:30 a.m. on February 11, 2020, when a Pismo Beach Police Officer conducted a traffic stop on Tugas for speeding and weaving.
Tugas provided the officer a false birthdate and was driving on a suspended license. When it became clear he was not going to be allowed to continue driving and his vehicle would be towed, Tugas stated, “No, I’m gonna go,” and sped away from the traffic stop with his headlights off.
A high speed pursuit ensued from the freeway onto surface streets and Tugas was later arrested. For this incident, the jury convicted Tugas of evading a peace officer with willful disregard for the safety of others, a felony.
In a second incident, on July 12, 2021, Tugas was stopped by a San Luis Obispo Police Officer for driving a motorcycle without a helmet. When the officer ran the license plate it did not match the motorcycle, a trick known as “cold plating” a stolen vehicle.
Tugas attempted to drive away, when the officer pulled him from the motorcycle and ordered him to get on the ground. Tugas pulled the officer’s hands off him and fled on foot. The motorcycle had been reported stolen earlier in 2021. The motorcycle’s ignition had been damaged to allow it to start without a key in a process known as “hot wiring.”
For this incident the jury convicted Tugas of driving a stolen motorcycle, a felony, and driving on a suspended license, a misdemeanor. The jury also found true the allegation that Tugas was out on bail for the February 2020 incident when he drove the stolen motorcycle. The jury was unable to reach a verdict on an additional charge of resisting a peace officer by force, voting ten to two in favor of guilt.
“We thank the jury for their focused attention in hearing this case,” said District Attorney Dan Dow. “Individuals who engage in reckless conduct while driving and flee from peace officers endanger the safety of our law enforcement and the public generally. This verdict sends a message that our community will not tolerate this.”
Tugas is scheduled for sentencing July 11, 2022, in Department 1 of the San Luis Obispo County Superior Court, the Honorable Jacquelyn Duffy presiding.
The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Crystal Seiler and investigated by Pismo Beach Police Department and San Luis Obispo Police Department.
A copy of the amended information can be found here. A copy of the defendant’s booking photo can be found here.
Please contact Assistant District Attorney Eric J. Dobroth at 805.781.5819 with any questions.
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