Crime - Sacto 911

Police chase man through Nevada County as he steals SUV, ATV and fires silver handgun

Jeffrey Joseph Caldwell
Jeffrey Joseph Caldwell California Highway Patrol

The California Highway Patrol was searching for a man described as a “person of interest” in a pursuit through Nevada County that involved reckless driving, vehicle theft and gunfire.

About 10 a.m. Tuesday, a red Toyota Corolla was reported being driven recklessly on Highway 20 about 20 miles east of Nevada City. In addition to passing vehicles over the double yellow lines and on the right shoulder, the driver ignored traffic flaggers at the site of a Caltrans project, according to a CHP news release.

Officials said the vehicle traveled through the project, nearly running over a flagger and narrowly avoiding a collision with a Caltrans vehicle.

CHP units were on patrol in the area and the driver continued recklessly past the units as he turned onto Washington Road.

Before CHP officers were able to catch up to the vehicle, the driver abandoned the Toyota near the town of Washington and stole a white Dodge Durango SUV, officials said. As he drove through town, several people reported that he pointed a silver handgun at them and then fired the gun into the air multiple times.

The driver continued onto Maybert Road, drove through two locked gates on private property and caused a collision. He then abandoned the Dodge, burglarized a garage on the property and stole an all-terrain vehicle.

The man then headed westbound on Maybert Road. He traveled only a short distance before causing another collision and the ATV became stuck. The man ran into the woods.

CHP officers searched the area with K-9 officers and aircraft. They were assisted by the Nevada County Sheriff’s Department and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. After a six-hour search, the man had not been located.

CHP officials said Jeffrey Joseph Caldwell, 28, of Vallejo is wanted for questioning in the case. They said he should be considered possibly armed and dangerous. Anyone who sees him is advised not to contact him but to call 911.

Caldwell is described as white, possibly with a darker complexion, approximately 6 feet tall and weighing 290 pounds. He has short dark hair and a right eye that turns outward, showing more white than normal. He was last seen wearing light blue pants and a white T-shirt.

Victims or witnesses to Tuesday’s incidents are asked to call the CHP Grass Valley Area office at 530-477-4900 during business hours or 916-861-1300 after hours.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy