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Updated: Man Arrested After Downtown Los Gatos High-Speed Chase

Merchants report the suspect was driving at dangerous speeds through parking lots. He crashed into utility poles, parking signs, and parked vehicles to avoid being detained.

 

 

Updated: 1:30 p.m., Friday, Aug. 17: A Monte Sereno man is in jail today facing two counts of hit-and-run, assault and battery, and a felony for evading police charge following a dangerous high-speed pursuit Thursday afternoon in downtown Los Gatos that ended with his arrest by a motorcycle officer, assisted by at least two citizens.

Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Police Sgt. Joe DePrima said officers were alerted about the reckless driver, identified as Stephen Cage, 21, at 3:57 p.m. after he had struck an unknown object with the Honda Civic or Honda Accord he was driving. Police say Cage is not licensed to drive.

Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Motorcycle Police officer Mario Carrizosa arrived on scene about a minute and a half after the first call made to police. At Bachman and North Santa Cruz avenues, citizens directed him to vehicle parking lots behind North Santa Cruz Avenue where he found and apprehended Cage, DePrima said.

Witnesses told Carrizosa that Cage's vehicle was damaged. The officer raced after the suspect, catching up to him in the 100 block of North Santa Cruz Avenue and Elm Street, DePrima added. The suspect had reportedly struck a vehicle on North Santa Cruz Avenue.

With lights and sirens activated, Carrizosa was able to catch Cage after he turned left on University Avenue. DePrima says Cage was driving erratically, swaying back and forth, ran a stop sign on Elm Street, jumped the curve and struck a building at 51 University Ave.

He then drove over the sidewalk and shrubs, and came back onto Elm Street before entering the municipal lot behind the old Domus building, where he crashed.

A victim, Katrina Cabral, who was with her daughter, reported the suspect was focusing on her and steered toward her, police said. Cabral said that in trying to protect her child, she went behind a utility pole where the suspect turned the vehicle toward her and collided with the pole's guide wire.

At that point, the suspect put the car in reverse with Carrizosa behind him. When the officer saw the vehicle's backup lights come on, fearing for his safety and that he could get run over, Carrizosa jumped off the bike, which fell to the ground, DePrima said.

Carrizosa began telling the suspect to exit the car, but when Cage refused to comply, he opened the driver's door and tried to arrest him. Cage resisted.

Calling for help on his cell phone, traffic prevented fellow officers from getting there on time, DePrima said. "It was community effort that came into play in helping us," he noted. "It was great teamwork. Not that we recommend or ask that the community get involved, but the officer was having a problem because this person was struggling. If the confrontation lasted longer, other things might have happened such as a Taser being used, going up the level of force.

"It worked out beneficial that the officer had assistance there," DePrima continued. "The community was out there because this guy was driving recklessly without any regard for life."

DePrima said Los Gatos resident Ben Goldman and an unidentified restaurant employee who helped hold down the suspect's legs were extremely helpful to Carrizosa.

It's unknown whether Cage was under the influence of alcohol or other drugs and DePrima said investigators are still trying to figure out why he went on the crazy ride. "We're so fortunate that nobody died that day," DePrima said. "I've never seen anything like it. You read about stories where someone out of control ends up on a sidewalk and kills and handful of people. We're very lucky."

Cage was booked into Santa Clara County Jail on two counts of hit-and-run for striking the pole and the building and for the felony of evading police. Police also plan to press additional charges for striking at least four other cars, and assault and battery are expected after Cage appeared to intentionally aim the vehicle at Cabral and her child. "It's due to wanton disregard for life and property and how he was driving that we're pursuing these charges," DePrima said.

A handful of callers have contacted DePrima today, Friday, saying they were also hit by Cage's car. "We're still investigating all the hit-and-run incidents, but nobody was injured."

Updated: 12:30 p.m., Friday, Aug. 17: Los Gatos resident Eric Macauley said the man being chased by a Los Gatos-Monte Sereno motorcycle officer Thursday afternoon was arrested following a high-speed pursuit that ended when he crashed into a utility pole on Elm Street.

"I witnessed the entire event, as I had just parked my car, had begun walking towards the shopping center when I heard the sirens and crashes. I saw the Honda Accord come flying up Elm Street and smash into the telephone pole," he said.

"The motorcycle officer did an amazing job in subduing the suspect, who clearly was not interested in surrendering," he said. "Very lucky that nobody was injured or killed, and that the officer was able to stop the suspect when he did, I'm afraid had he not this could have ended a lot worse."

Macauley also shot video of the arrest which is posted with this story.

A total of three officers and Los Gatos Monte Sereno Police Capt. Dave Gravel were at the scene, along with the department's detective bureau to help with obtaining statements from witnesses, DePrima said.

Updated: 5:40 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 16: Los Gatos public accountant Eric Childs, whose office is located at 250 No. Santa Cruz Ave., said he had called 911 at about 3:55 p.m. to report a man driving erratically Thursday afternoon through downtown parking lots.

The young man, who ended up reportedly crashing his Honda Accord into a utility pole on Elm Street, started racing at Bachman and No. Santa Cruz avenues, where he was honking his horn, Childs said.

"He started screeching down North Santa Cruz and turning right on Bachman, high speeds, into the wrong direction of the Eureka parking lot, where he knocked a parking sign completely out of the ground," Childs said of the afternoon incident that had many Los Gatos-Monte Sereno police officers involved and at the scene. 

"I heard the screeching and looked out my office window to see him hit the sign, back up a bit then continue driving," Childs reported, adding that his wife, Los Gatos Community Foundation Director Sharon Childs had just left his office and he ran out to keep her out of the parking lot to protect her safety.

Childs said he then saw the driver continue to race down the parking lot, screeching to a stop and turning around, miraculously not hitting any cars.

The suspect went back towards Bachman, down the ramp, catching air into the lot behind Manresa, then turned and went back across the street again, Childs said.

"He was catching air in his drive from one lot to the next … people were chasing him down trying to get his license number … back to the Eureka lot and then turned again … racing back to the Manresa lot and down towards the end, turned and ran into a dumpster … then came back and went through the Eureka lot again, turning right on Royce Street and then apparently towards the Domus lot and Main Street," Childs described.   

"It was pretty weird and scary ... the young man was acting quite crazy," he noted.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Several merchants with businesses in the 40 No. Santa Cruz Avenue block of downtown Los Gatos are reporting that a police chase took place this afternoon and that one suspect has been apprehended.

The police action is said to have taken place initially in the parking lot behind the old Domus building and Maids' Quarters and involved a motorcycle cop.

A dispatcher at the LGMS police headquarters declined to give details about the incident and said all police sergeants, including spokesman Sgt. Kerry Harris are at the location of the crime.

Unofficial reports say a resident flagged down the motorcycle cop and directed him to a suspect who seemed suspicious in a car. When the man made an illegal u-turn after being pursued by the motorcycle officer, he gave chase.

Witnesseses say he was "flying" past Los Gatos Coffee Roasting Company on Main Street, turning left on University Avenue "zooming" down almost hitting a pedestrian or a vehicle, turning left on one-way Elm Street.

A car was said to be traveling on Elm Street and when he tried to avoid it, he crashed into a telephone poll, according to eyewitness accounts.

"The telephone pole was moving along with all the wires," said one of the merchants who declined to be identified. "People saw them coming fast and they ran for their lives."

Apparently the motorcycle cop was struck by the suspect and knocked over, witnesses reported.

Los Gatos Patch will update this story as more information becomes available.

elie August 17, 2012 at 08:54 PM
The driver has a condition of mental disorder. He factually did not know how the real the consequences are. He needs serious intervention. I am glad that no one was hurt.
Judy Stanley August 18, 2012 at 03:02 AM
I just watched the video snippet,,, you can actually see my car parked in the video ,,i work right next to where the accident and happened. In fact i had just moved my car minutes before from being parked in front of Romantiques , to the lot behind Domus ,,, thank goodness i hadn't waited or this guy might have ran me down. I thank my lucky stars. This is a crazy thing that happened. The picture shows the guy looking crazed.
Judy Stanley August 18, 2012 at 03:02 AM
I just watched the video snippet,,, you can actually see my car parked in the video ,,i work right next to where the accident and happened. In fact i had just moved my car minutes before from being parked in front of Romantiques , to the lot behind Domus ,,, thank goodness i hadn't waited or this guy might have ran me down. I thank my lucky stars. This is a crazy thing that happened. The picture shows the guy looking crazed.
gina zermeno August 18, 2012 at 12:44 PM
Thanks Elie for stating that. I've seen this boy (young man) almost daily while I deliver mail for the last 11 years here in LG. I've only seen him riding his bike around town. Very quiet, never made any eye contact with anyone. I used to deliver mail to his house. When I saw his mugshot, I was very sad that it was him. My prayers go out to his family, and I am glad that no one was seriously hurt. He's not a crazy guy "on something". He does deserve some compassion because he didn't do this on purpose.
Josh Goldman August 18, 2012 at 07:51 PM
That Ben Goldman sounds like some sort of an American hero!
K August 19, 2012 at 12:42 AM
Very glad no one was hurt. My thoughts and heart go out to his parents who are great caring people. I have seen this over the years as they worked to do their best raising him. This young man has mental function issues and probably did not understand the severity of his actions. I highly doubt there was a plan - more like spontanious actions and reactions. I hope this somehow ends with him getting any additional services or help he may need.
ks August 19, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Hi, I just learned about the website from a customer at my work today.  I checked it out on a break and signed up. Thought it was a great idea. Wow I saw some of the car situation, I was so scared to leave my parking space and I called my husband and told him to be careful since he was on his way to town for work.  I was so amazed to get my first news break email. Loved all the information.  Going to promote the web site I think everyone would love to be part of this. Sheila
Crows Nest August 19, 2012 at 10:08 PM
Hello. I went to school with Stephen, and I have nothing but good things to say about him. He is a caring, compassionate, quiet yet intelligent young man. Certain people would give him a hard time for his mental disabilities, and he was very good at brushing these people aside without sinking to an immature level. I know that this young man was NOT on drugs at the time of the incident, and he was most likely not drinking. He definitely made some poor choices, and he will have to face the repercussions of his decisions. He definitely put people in danger. It is a very good thing that no person was injured. However, these acts do not automatically make him some "crazed meth head" or "lunatic". There is so much more to the situation than printed on the paper, so please try to have some sympathy for him and his family. They have been raising Stephen for his whole life, and one cannot begin to describe the hardships of raising a child with severe, severe disorders. He will pay for putting lives in danger. I, for one, know that Stephen is a young man with rich integrity and a warm heart, who is having a hard time participating successfully in society as a mentally challenged person.
NoBama August 19, 2012 at 10:09 PM
Hello. I went to school with Stephen, and I have nothing but good things to say about him. He is a caring, compassionate, quiet yet intelligent young man. Certain people would give him a hard time for his mental disabilities, and he was very good at brushing these people aside without sinking to an immature level. I know that this young man was NOT on drugs at the time of the incident, and he was most likely not drinking. He definitely made some poor choices, and he will have to face the repercussions of his decisions. He definitely put people in danger. It is a very good thing that no person was injured. However, these acts do not automatically make him some "crazed meth head" or "lunatic". There is so much more to the situation than printed on the paper, so please try to have some sympathy for him and his family. They have been raising Stephen for his whole life, and one cannot begin to describe the hardships of raising a child with severe, severe disorders. He will pay for putting lives in danger. I, for one, know that Stephen is a young man with rich integrity and a warm heart, who is having a hard time participating successfully in society as a mentally challenged person.
Parthenia M. Hicks August 20, 2012 at 01:21 AM
An unfortunate incident and so good that no one was hurt. I'm glad to see some compassion flowing in everyone's direction, including this young man and his family. I find this story so sad and I hope that Stephen gets what he needs to walk in the world safely and to avoid behaviors that are dangerous to himself and others.
Jeanne August 20, 2012 at 04:21 AM
I assisted Stephen in many of his classes during high school and he is a thoughtful and caring young man with severe cognitive disabilities. He comes from a loving and caring family, and my thoughts and prayers are with them. I am sadden by the incident which I am certain must have been very terrifying, and I am thankful that no one was hurt physically. Stephen is not a "lunatic" and I am certain that no illegal drugs were involved. I am certain as well that once stopped, because of his disability that Stephen was extremely fearful which caused his to refuse to comply with and resist the officer. Stephen will be held accountable for his actions, but I hope that our justice system will deal with him with compassion and the understanding that this is a young man with considerable disabilities.
Monte Sereno Mom August 20, 2012 at 05:39 PM
With all due respect to those of you who knew Stephen in High School, the fact that he has "severe cognitive disabilities" does not excuse this conduct. As a parent, I fully recognize that his parents have had a difficult time raising him. However, this is not the first time that has has intentionally done something dangerous and put other people in harms way - remember when he rammed his bike into a kid's bike (on purpose) and sent that child's sibling onto Winchester in a stroller?!?!? He is violent and aggressive and dangerous to those around him - I have seen this is the evil looks he has given me while walking down my street and flipping me off aggressively and for no reason whatsover. Clearly, his disabilities render him unfit to be in society without constant supervision. If this is not a wake-up call for his parents, I don't know what would be? Does someone actually have to die at his hands first??? While I have sympathy for his parents and know his disabilities are unfortunate for him, he clearly needs assistance and supervision that his parents either cannot, or will not provide. It's time something is done before someone gets killed.
Saratogan August 20, 2012 at 07:58 PM
To Monte Sereno Mom: Steven went to school with my son for several years. He was "the coachman"--he rode shotgun in the van that picked my son up every morning for school. Listen to Jeanne, she knows. Your are right about him needing assistance and supervision to prevent events like this from happening. It may surprise you to know that it takes an event such as this to prompt that level of help. I am sure his parents have done everything in their power to help him. I've only been doing it for 20 years.
We all live in glass houses... August 20, 2012 at 09:58 PM
Monte Sereno Mom...why don't you volunteer some of your extra time. You seem to have plenty of it...standing in your front yard getting flipped off, "watching him ram children into streets"? Maybe you feel guilty for not saying something? If these incidents happened and you were the "adult" witnessing it perhaps you should have reported it before something this serious happened?? God forbid your "normal" child ever makes a mistake in life using his "normal" mind. It will happen so be prepared because the ridicule will come back to you ten fold. Steve is a very very very smart man because "with all due respect" I would have flipped you off too.
Maria Ristow August 21, 2012 at 01:52 AM
Monte Sereno Mom-- It's unfair and unproductive to to assume you know what's in someone else's mind. We do all live in glass houses, and we can not control everything around us. At this point, the attention needed is there.
Maria Ristow August 21, 2012 at 02:47 AM
What needs to be emphasized is how professionally and controlled Officer Mario Carrizosa conducted himself. In a situation where adrenaline and an unpredictable situation could have led to tragedy, Officer Carrizosa did not escalate. (As Katrina's description of what transpired supports.) Too often we have seen stories where arrests have ended in injury or death to the suspect. Knowing how shaken and upset I was after witnessing the chase through town, I was trying to imagine how the pursuing officer could remain calm. Officer Mario Carrizosa showed extreme level-headedness. Los Gatos should be proud of him! I am!
AR August 21, 2012 at 03:21 AM
at a minimum, he should be barred from ever operating a vehicle of any kind ever again. i am not sympathetic to the illness of one man when weighed against the basic physical safety of the public. this incident could have easily resulted in numerous fatalities
PERFECT BACK YARD August 21, 2012 at 05:24 AM
HOW DARE DO WE EVER ALLOW SUCH A RECKLESS INDIVIDUAL ON OUR STREETS? I DO BELIEVE THAT THIS SICK WEIRDO SHOULD BE LOCKED UP FOREVER!
We all live in glass houses... August 21, 2012 at 06:55 AM
This incident could have absolutely ended with numerous injuries and fatalities... Fortunately professionals were on hand to handle the situation... Unfortunately there were no professionals there to report on it.
Monte Sereno Mom August 22, 2012 at 02:54 AM
Wow...angry much? First of all, I wasn't "standing in my front yard getting flipped off." I was pulling out of my driveway with THREE very minor children in the car. So no, I have no guilt over not saying anything to this very aggressive person because it was not appropriate to do so with my children present. It's nice to know that you are the kind of person, like Stephen, who would flip a person off for backing out of their driveway. You sound like a real pleasant person to know. Regarding the other incident, I didn't witness it - I read it in the news before I moved here and was not aware that he lived so close to where I bought my house. His parents are well aware of what he did, as is the rest of this community, and yet nothing was done about it then. As for my "normal" children, I have no doubt they will make many mistakes in their life. The difference is, I will expect my children to pay the appropriate consequences and I will discipline them appropriately rather than make excuses for what they did. I am glad you acknowledge that he is "a very very smart man." That just confirms to me that he knew was he was doing, and that it was wrong, and yet he did it anyway, confirming what I already said - punishment for his conduct is long overdue. In any event, it is clear that you missed the point of my post - which was simply this - it's wake up time. He needs more supervision than he was getting and I pray that is corrected - finally.
Los Gatoan August 22, 2012 at 05:11 AM
Our hearts and wishes should go to the family of young Stephen. While the article refers to him as a man, he is mentally and emotionally much younger. His parents are kind, caring people who have worked tirelessly to provide Stephen a supportive environment. They can't be there all the time, however. We don't know what caused this terribly unfortunate event and to guess does no one any good. Stephen needs help and this community should be there to support him and his family.
Jeanne August 22, 2012 at 05:48 AM
Well said Los Gatoan and thank you for posting your reply of which I am in total agreement.
Randy Horton August 22, 2012 at 07:23 AM
My son went to school with Stephen and his brother. They are really good kids that come from a great, loving family. Stephen has always had challenges with his disabilities. He is one of the most courageous and caring person I know when it comes to dealing with adversity and dealing with challenging situations. I am really sad to hear about this. Stephen has a huge heart and it pains me to see so many assumptions made about him. I am sure that he did not mean to hurt anyone. He must have been having a really hard day and made some very poor choices. I hope that people can put themselves in the shoes of Stephen's parents when they are looking at this.
Jennifer Croll August 22, 2012 at 04:17 PM
We are a "Village" and we need to be supportive of everyone in our community. To Stephen and your family, I don't believe we have met but please let me and my family know how we can help yours anytime. In the meantime, I wish you all the very best during this hard period.
Mark August 24, 2012 at 08:24 AM
lock up the mentally ill, throw the keys away, who needs these people: Beethoven, Michelangelo, Newton, Van Gough, Abe Lincoln, Churchill............. we need more bean counters! thank you officer Carrizosa Stephan hope to see you walk by my home again!
davidn August 24, 2012 at 10:07 PM
We are very lucky that our police recognize when to put their gun away.
Krafty A August 26, 2012 at 10:49 PM
I am so grateful to see this comment! The exclusion of this fact is irresponsible reporting of the highest order. I worked with Mr. Cage for several years and I can testify to the fact that he is a warm, kind, excellent human being with poor impulse control. Period. I do not know who wrote the above comment but you stated it beautifully. You have restored my faith.
Krafty A August 26, 2012 at 10:53 PM
Indeed! Well said. Oddly, just the name "Monte Sereno Mom" makes me feel like flipping this paragon of virtue off...
Matt Young May 14, 2013 at 04:21 AM
I know this is a little after the fact, but Stephen has a developmental disability, and is very childlike in many ways. He likes "cars and steam engines," including Thomas the Tank Engine. He had a friend who drove, and who was showing him how a car worked. That day, his friend had picked him up, and then left him for a long time in the car, with the keys in the ignition. I'm appalled that no one seemed to know that he had a developmental disability, and that people thought this was a "normal guy" on drugs. If he had Down Syndrome instead of the other genetic syndrome he has, I think people's opinions would be very different. He panicked when he realized he was stuck in a running car. There's no way he tried to run you down intentionally.
Maria Ristow May 14, 2013 at 05:37 AM
Matt, thank you for your comments. Certainly as the story unfolded in the following days, I realized that this driver was not malicious, but very panicked. I was just thinking about this last week. I can still recall the look on his face as he came up behind me, and he looked at least as scared as I felt. I am SO grateful for everyone's sake, including Stephen's, that no one was seriously injured or killed. And my comments reflected my impressions and feelings at the time, where the only information I had was my direct observation of the situation as I found myself in it. I could not pretend to assume to know what was really going on.

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