During two nearly simultaneous traffic accidents on Moraga Way Thursday, Moraga police observed a suspicious person driving a blue Mazda Trilogy on Moraga Way near Moraga Road at about 3 p.m.
Officers said that when the driver saw the officers, he appeared surprised and quickly turned on to School Street and through the Safeway parking lot. The officers watched as the man quickly drove through the lot and back on to Moraga Way towards Orinda. He then began driving recklessly by passing cars over the center line while traveling approximately 60 MPH in the direction of an accident on Moraga Way at Coral Drive.
The officers were attempting to catch up to the suspect when he again quickly turned on to Camino Ricardo and then on to Avila Lane. He drove to the dead end of the street and ran into a truck that was parked there. The suspect jumped out of the Mazda and ran through the bushes and drainage, crossing Camino Ricardo and into the orchard. The officers caught him in the orchard and placed him under arrest. He was identified as Stephen Phelps, 27, of Oakland.
When the officers returned to the vehicle, they located numerous syringes and needles strewn throughout the vehicle. They also found property, valued at over $2400.00, that is believed to have been stolen from a local business. Phelps also had nearly 20 spray paint cans in his car and identified himself as a graffiti artist. A warrant check on Phelps revealed that there were two no-bail weapons and narcotics related warrants (from Alameda County) outstanding for his arrest as well as a $15,000 Contra Costa County theft warrant. Phelps’ drivers license is also suspended.
Phelps was transported to the Contra Costa County Jail, Martinez and booked for the outstanding warrants, possession of stolen property, hit and run, reckless driving, resisting arrest and driving while his license is suspended. Phelps vehicle was impounded. There was minor damage to the vehicle that Phelps hit with the Mazda.
Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact the Moraga Police Department at 925-888-7055.