By Neal Putnam
A man who doused himself with gasoline while fleeing from sheriff’s deputies following burglaries in Ramona has been sentenced to one year in jail for auto theft.
The sheriff’s department said Oscar Edwardo Torres, 33, of Chula Vista, will be released on June 13 after receiving credit for 90 days he has already served. He was placed on three years probation by El Cajon Superior Court Judge Charles Ervin, who fined him $1,234.
Sheriff’s deputies received a call Jan. 14 about a suspicious person who entered several residences in the 17000 block of Ridgeview Lane in Ramona. The suspect had his face and arms painted black.
Torres stole a Ford F-150 truck that was parked in one driveway and drove off, but he was followed by deputies on State Route 78. Deputies say Torres began tossing things out the window and doused himself with gasoline while driving. He lit a towel on fire and threw it on the highway. Deputies used a spike strip and he pulled over after the 20-minute chase.
Torres refused to exit the vehicle so deputies used a chemical agent and also a canine unit before he was arrested. They took him to a hospital and he was later booked into jail.
Deputies gave no motive for the strange behavior. The probation department recommended probation, and the prosecutor did not ask for a prison term after Torres pleaded guilty to auto theft.