Fugitive arrested in East Palo Alto to be on TV

Salinas man who took police on a high-speed chase was filmed for Filipino episode similar to 'COPS'

A Salinas fugitive became the unwitting star of the show after running a stop sign in East Palo Alto Wednesday night, Aug. 1.

Tjorn Magee, 30, a former Menlo-Atherton High School student who moved to Salinas, was driving near Runnymede and Palo Verde streets at about 10:30 p.m. when an East Palo Alto officer attempted to pull him over on a traffic stop, Sgt. Leo Capovilla of the San Mateo County Sheriff Gang Intelligence and Investigations Unit said.

Magee was wanted by Salinas police for a parole violation and domestic violence, Capovilla said. His mug shot had appeared on Salinas television station KIONRightNow on the program "Manhunt Monday" on July 16.

Magee sped off with a female passenger and her 14-year-old daughter in a four-door silver sedan, taking police on a high-speed chase through East Palo Alto. But his flight flagged the attention of the San Mateo County Sheriff's Gang Task Force. Multiple units from the East Palo Alto Police Department, the County Sheriff and California Highway Patrol joined the pursuit.

Because of the county task force's involvement, however, Magee's flight was captured on film for Philippine television station TFC's version of "COPS." A camera crew was out with the gang task force while producing a program about Filipino police officers in the U.S. The program shows people in the Philippines slices of Filipino-American life, and crews were filming police actions all this week, Capovilla said.

Magee jumped out of the vehicle while it was still in drive gear after turning into a dead-end street in the 400 block of Green Street, about two blocks north of University Avenue and East Bayshore Road. The female passenger stopped the car's forward momentum toward a cinderblock retaining wall by putting the car in park.

Magee jumped fences through the neighborhood, but officers set up a perimeter, and he was apprehended. He initially gave police a false name, but the surprised female passenger provided police with his real one, Capovilla said.

"That woman was really unhappy," Capovilla said, especially because her 14-year-old daughter was in the car.

The woman and her daughter are from Monterey, she said. They were visiting family in Gilroy, and Magee said he needed a ride to East Palo Alto. She did not have a license with her and could not drive the car, she said.

"I didn't know he was going to do that. I would never put my daughter in that position," she said.

Magee was arrested for evading police, giving a false name, violating parole and child endangerment. He is being held in San Mateo County Jail without bail.


Posted by Mechanic, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Aug 3, 2012 at 10:29 am

I feel sorry for that poor car's transmission....

Posted by jason, a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 3, 2012 at 10:32 am


Posted by Raymond, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Aug 3, 2012 at 11:10 am

I'm not sure which is worse; going to jail or being featured on the Filipino version of 'Cops'.

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