More than two dozen uniformed officers from the California Highway Patrol watched Friday as the man charged with leading a south Sacramento CHP officer on a high-speed chase ending in the officer’s death appeared in Sacramento Superior Court.
Alberto Quiroz, now 27, wore a orange jumpsuit and briefly smiled as he entered the courtroom’s holding cell, though it was not clear whether family members or friends were in the crowd.
Quiroz faces multiple charges in connection to a high-speed pursuit on Feb. 22 in which prosecutors allege he fled from CHP Officer Lucas Chellew in south Sacramento while riding a stolen Yamaha motorcycle.
Chellew, 31, was an eight-year veteran with the CHP’s south Sacramento unit and was also on a motorcycle during the chase. Police say Chellew was cut off by another vehicle as he was driving near Fruitridge and Stockton Boulevard, causing him to crash into a pole and suffer serious injuries. He was taken to a hospital but died that night.
Quiroz was taken into custody in connection with the crash the following day. In addition to charges of felony vehicle theft and evading a peace officer, he also faces charges for burglary and causing serious injury while evading police, Sacramento County Main Jail inmate logs show.
Quiroz plead no contest to the charges in an Oct. 30 hearing, Alice Michel, an assistant public defender overseeing the case, said Friday.
In court on Friday, Michel told Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael Sweet she recently became aware of information that may be relevant to sentencing in the case, and asked for the hearing to be continued. She declined to elaborate when asked by Sweet what type of information she wanted to share.
Officer Michael Bradley, a spokesman for the CHP who was present at the hearing, told reporters outside the courthouse Friday that he and fellow officers would continue to attend future hearings to show support for the Chellew family.
Chellew is survived by his wife and two children. His sister and father both worked as CHP officers.
Quiroz is scheduled to return to court Jan. 26.