A man who fled into the woods a week ago near the town of Washington following a wild pursuit through Nevada County has been taken into custody.
Jeffrey Joseph Caldwell, 28, of Vallejo was wanted for questioning after a Sept. 27 chase that involved reckless driving, vehicle theft and gunfire.
Caldwell was found by California Highway Patrol officers about 4:15 p.m. Tuesday and taken into custody several miles into forest outside Washington.
He was taken by officers to Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital in Grass Valley, where he was evaluated by medical staff. He was then booked into the Nevada County jail on suspicion felony vandalism and felony vehicle theft, as well as three misdemeanors: second-degree burglary, brandishing a weapon and discharging a firearm from a vehicle.
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Officers say they believe he was able to survive a week in the woods under cold nighttime conditions by using branches and foliage as a blanket. He also found old clothing to keep warm, according to a CHP news release.
Caldwell was wanted for a series of events that began about 10 a.m. Sept 27. On that day, a red Toyota Corolla was reported being driven recklessly on Highway 20 about 20 miles east of Nevada City.
The driver reportedly passed vehicles over the double yellow lines and on the right shoulder and ignored traffic flaggers at a Caltrans project. CHP officials said the vehicle traveled through the roadwork, nearly running over a flagger and narrowly avoiding a collision with a Caltrans vehicle.
Before CHP officers caught up, the driver abandoned the Toyota near Washington and stole a white Dodge Durango. As he drove through town, several people reported that he pointed a silver handgun at them, then fired the gun into the air multiple times, according to the CHP.
The driver crashed 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, later identified by the CHP as Caldwell, traveled only a short distance before causing another collision and the ATV became stuck.
He ran into the woods, where he remained until his capture Tuesday.