Wanted felon arrested after high-speed pursuit that began in Menifee and ended in Hemet

MENIFEE, Calif., — Authorities say a high-speed, multi-agency pursuit that began in Menifee and ended in Hemet led to the arrest of a wanted felon Friday afternoon, April 1.


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At around 3 p.m., City of Menifee police officers began searching for a vehicle that was reported stolen from Heritage Lake Park.

Within minutes, an officer spotted the stolen vehicle being driven near McCall and Interstate 215 and attempted to conduct a traffic enforcement stop.

A Menifee PD officer is seen taking Lenny Lara of San Jacinto into custody after a dangerous high-speed pursuit that began in Menifee and ended in Hemet on Friday afternoon. Menifee PD photo

Despite the officer’s lights and siren, the driver, since identified as 35-year-old, Lenny Lara, from San Jacinto, refused to yield and sped away.

Officers initiated a vehicle pursuit that continued onto the freeway and then eastbound toward Hemet on Hwy 74.

With the high-speed chase continuing into the Hemet and San Jacinto valley, pursuing officers requested additional resources, at which time a Riverside County Sheriff’s Aviation Unit, Star-9, was launched to the area to assist.

“The suspect continued to evade officers into the city of Hemet where he eventually stopped on his own and fled on foot,” Menifee PD has since explained.

With RSO’s Star-9 assisting from overhead, aviation crew members were able to guide Menifee and Murrieta PD, City of Hemet officers, and Hemet area Sheriff’s deputies to the suspect’s location on W. Florida Avenue. After converging on the area, officials were able to quickly locate Lara and he was safely taken into custody without further incident.

Once Lara was in custody, officers learned that he had three felony warrants for his arrest for a variety of crimes. He was later booked into the Cois Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta on suspicion of vehicle theft, recklessly evading, being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition, being a prohibited person in possession of ammunition, burglary, possession of controlled substances, and possession of brass knuckles.

Online jail records indicate he remains in custody in lieu of $100,000 bail or bond.

Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 51, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and operates Riverside County News Source (RCNS) and Shasta County News Source (SCNS). Both are stringer organizations, providing breaking news coverage and community interest stories for other mainstream media organizations throughout the two regions they serve.

Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers Valley News, Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; the Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County; and Mountain Echo in Shasta County. He is also a regular contributor to Thin Blue Line TV and Law Enforcement News Network and has had his stories featured on news stations throughout the Southern California and North State regions.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 30 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 18 grandchildren.