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June 30, 2022

Accused Driver in CHP Shooting-Pursuit Pleads Not Guilty

Berkeley resident Alexandria Luevanos pleaded not guilty Monday in Santa Cruz Superior Court to four charges in connection with a vehicle pursuit through Scotts Valley in which police say her passenger shot at CHP officers.

Meanwhile, her co-defendant, Kristopher Rosario Payopay, 40, of Lathrop, Calif., is sitting in jail and will have to answer for 25 criminal charges, including attempted murder.

The California Highway Patrol says officers stopped to check on a vehicle parked on the side of Highway 17 on Jan. 25 around 10pm. Luevanos, 41, hit the gas and raced off, leading to an all-night chase that led authorities to issue a stay-at-home order in a Scotts Valley neighborhood.

Around 7am next morning, CHP arrested Payopay after he was spotted walking along Highway 17. The agency also reported recovering a weapon in the area.

On Jan. 27, CHP announced it had apprehended Luevanos.

She was charged with four felonies: evading a peace officer, possessing a controlled substance while armed, illegal possession of a firearm and unlawful possession of ammunition.

Luevanos was formally charged Jan 28. She was arraigned three days later, at which point she also denied the charges against her.

Her preliminary hearing has already been scheduled for Feb. 14.

Payopay, who was booked into jail Jan. 26., was represented in Santa Cruz County Superior Court two days later by public defender Diana August.

He’s scheduled to return to court Feb. 7 for a continued arraignment hearing.

Payopay faces a slew of charges—among them, attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer, evading police and illegal possession of an assault weapon.

Drew Penner
Drew Penner is an award-winning Canadian journalist whose reporting has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Good Times Santa Cruz, Los Angeles Times, Scotts Valley Press Banner, San Diego Union-Tribune, KCRW and the Vancouver Sun. Please send your Los Gatos and Santa Cruz County news tips to [email protected]

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