Vodka grab at Longs leads to high speed chase, arrest | September 12, 2008 | Danville Express | |

Danville Express

Community Pulse - September 12, 2008

Vodka grab at Longs leads to high speed chase, arrest

A shared effort between Danville and San Ramon police departments resulted in the arrests of two people in connection with a daylight robbery last week at Longs Drugs.

Danville Police Lt. Mark Williams said the incident occurred at 6:51 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 3, at the Longs Drugs at 650 San Ramon Valley Blvd. The incident began when a Longs employee monitoring the surveillance video in the store spotted a male and female each take two bottles of Grey Goose vodka off the shelves and hide them in their clothes.

After the pair, later identified as James Mcfarland, 20, and his sister Tameka Mcfarland, 18, went through the checkout line and left the store, the female employee followed them outside and confronted them near their blue Ford vehicle. When the suspects did not get out of the car, the employee started writing down the license plate number.

Tameka Mcfarland, driving the car, pushed open her door and threw items at the employee and then got out of the car and rushed her, said Williams. A scuffle ensued between the two women, and then James Mcfarland left the car and struck the employee in the face with his fist, according to police reports.

When the employee started back into Longs, the Mcfarlands got into their car and began to exit. However, before the employee could get back into the store, the employee was struck by the front bumper of the fleeing auto, knocking her across the bumper and onto the sidewalk, said police. The vehicle then sped out of the parking lot and north on San Ramon Valley Boulevard.

The employee was treated at the scene for bruises and abrasions by San Ramon Valley fire paramedics.

Williams said when the call went out, an officer on Diablo Road went to the entrance ramp to I-680 to watch for the suspects. He spotted the auto getting onto the southbound ramp of the freeway and gave chase. Williams said the officer pulled the pair over, but when he got out of his car, they fled again at a high rate of speed.

Reports indicate that the suspects weaved in and out of traffic trying to escape from the officer before Tameka Mcfarland lost control of the car near Bollinger Canyon Road and it left the roadway and flipped over.

Both Mcfarlands suffered minor injuries but fled the scene on foot. Williams said officers from Danville and San Ramon police set up a perimeter and began searching for the escapees. A short time later, a San Ramon K-9 unit discovered the pair hiding in a drainage culvert. When they resisted arrest, James Mcfarland was bitten on the foot by the police dog.

Both received medical treatment on the scene, before being taken into custody on charges of burglary, robbery, grand theft, assault with a deadly weapon, evading and resisting arrest. The charges are felony counts except for the resisting arrest.

The pair was taken to the West County Detention facility in Richmond. Tameka Mcfarland is being held on $150,000 bond, and James Mcfarland is being held on $70,000 bond.

"It was a great team effort by Danville Police Department and San Ramon Police Department," noted Williams. "It was handled really well, setting up the perimeter, communicating ... just great teamwork."

--Geoff Gillette