A man has been charged in connection with a police chase that authorities say sparked a brush fire in Jurupa Valley last week.
The 46 fire quickly spread to more than 300 acres, damaging several buildings and forcing evacuations. The blaze was declared 100% contained Sunday afternoon.
Prosecutors have charged Bryan Anguiano, 23, with one felony count of reckless evading and one count of discarding burning materials, according to a criminal complaint filed in Riverside County Superior Court.
The pursuit began shortly after midnight when Riverside police encountered a stolen car and tried to stop the vehicle, but the driver and a passenger sped off, according to a news release from the Riverside Police Department.
During the 15-minute chase that ensued, the car jumped several curbs and blew out its tires, police said.
The car then broke down in a field in the 4800 block of Crestmore Road; investigators believe heat from its wheels ignited a fire underneath it. Flames engulfed the car, then the field, police said.
The wind-driven blaze burned 328 acres before it was brought under control.
Both Anguiano and passenger Kevin Hidalgo, 28, bailed from the vehicle and tried to run away but were apprehended, according to investigators.
Hidalgo was arrested on an outstanding felony warrant for allegedly violating conditions of a post-release community supervision program, police said. He has not been charged in connection with the pursuit or fire but remains jailed in the Robert Presley Detention Center, according to jail records.
Anguiano pleaded not guilty to both charges at an arraignment Monday afternoon and is next due in court Nov. 14 for a felony settlement conference. He remains jailed at Larry D. Smith Correctional Institution on $100,000 bond.
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