Crime - Sacto 911

Man suspected of leading CHP officer on fatal pursuit appears in court

Alberto Morales Quiroz will return to court March 6 on charges connected to the death of a California Highway Patrol motor officer last week during a pursuit on Fruitridge Road.

Nearly a dozen CHP officers watched from the gallery Monday as Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael Sweet read the charges of felony evading a peace officer, vehicle theft and receiving stolen property.

That property was the Yamaha motorcycle that prosecutors allege Quiroz was riding during the high-speed pursuit Wednesday night that led to CHP Officer Lucas Chellew’s death.

Chellew, 31, a eight-year patrol veteran, husband and father of two young children, lost control of his motorcycle during the chase and crashed into a pole near Fruitridge and Stockton Boulevard after being cut off by another vehicle. He died later Wednesday at nearby UC Davis Medical Center.

Quiroz, 26, was arrested by CHP officers just before noon Thursday and taken to Sacramento County Main Jail where he remains held in lieu of $575,000 bail on the Sacramento charges and an outstanding warrant out of Placer County.

Photographers wedged themselves into a corner of the courtroom for a glimpse of Quiroz as Chellew’s colleagues looked solemnly on.

The officers huddled briefly with Sacramento County Assistant Chief Deputy District Attorney Rod Norgaard inside Sweet’s courtroom following the brief hearing, but did not speak with reporters.

The CHP announced that a memorial service for Chellew will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at Adventure Christian Church, 6401 Stanford Ranch Road, in Roseville.

Darrell Smith: 916-321-1040, @dvaughnsmith