The following is a press release issued by the Ukiah Police Department. This has not been proven in a court of law and any individuals described should be presumed innocent until proven guilty:
On July 10th, 2023, at approximately 8:06pm, the Lakeport Police Department responded to the Power Market in Lakeport for a reported vehicle theft. The Lakeport Police Department was told by the victim of the theft they had picked up a white male adult walking on Highway 29 and gave them a ride to the Power Market. The male had asked for a ride to Clearlake, which the victim refused as it was out of their way. The victim entered the store and when they returned their vehicle was missing. A review of the store surveillance video by the victim and store staff showed the male taking the victim’s vehicle.
At approximately 8:13pm, Lake County Sheriff’s Deputy Lyons observed the stolen vehicle traveling southbound on Highway 29 at Highway 175, at a high rate of speed. Deputy Lyons activated his emergency lights and attempted to stop the vehicle. The driver of the vehicle refused to stop, and a pursuit was initiated. Deputy Lyons pursued the vehicle at speeds exceeding 100 MPH and observed the vehicle passing other vehicles in opposing lanes of traffic. As the vehicle neared the intersection of Highway 29 and Lee Bar Rd., Lower Lake, Deputy Avina deployed his department issued spike strips, which the vehicle struck deflating all four tires. The vehicle continued through the red light at Highway 29 and Highway 53 onto Main St., Lower Lake. While on Main St., the vehicle attempted to pass a South Lake County Fire Protection District Rescue Utility truck, striking the utility truck, and further disabling the vehicle. The vehicle traveled a short distance and came to a stop in the westbound lane.
The driver exited the vehicle and began to flee on foot. Deputy Lyons and his K9 partner Rex, began to chase the suspect. Deputy Lyons advised the suspect to stop running or he would be bit by his K9. The suspect continued to flee from Deputy Lyons into the creek located behind the Foster Freeze in Lower Lake. Deputy Lyons deployed Rex and he quickly apprehended the suspect in the creek bed. Deputy Lyons was able to handcuff the suspect without further incident. The suspect sustained minor injuries from the apprehension.
Deputy Lyons identified the suspect as 49-year-old, Samuel William Rhea, of Clearlake. After medical clearance, Samuel Rhea was booked into the Lake County Correctional Facility for felony violation of 10851(A) VC Vehicle theft, 2800.2(A) VC Evading with Wanton Disregard, 2800.4 VC Evading Wrong Way driver, and misdemeanor violation of 148(A)(1) PC Obstruct, Delay or Resist a Peace Office.
It was later determined Rhea was previously booked into the Lake County Correctional Facility on June 18th, 2023, on several bench warrants. Rhea was released from custody after credit for time served on July 10th, 2023, at 7:15pm, prior to this incident.