Man faces assault with a deadly weapon charge for motorhome chase that started in Tahoe |

Man faces assault with a deadly weapon charge for motorhome chase that started in Tahoe

Kurt Hildebrand
The windshield of the motorhome was damaged in a chase on Sunday night that led to the arrest of a California man.
Kurt Hildebrand

STATELINE, Nev. — A California man, who led deputies on a chase from Stateline through Carson to Gardnerville, spraying sparks for the last 16 miles, faces a felony charge of assault with a deadly weapon.

Alturas resident Christopher Debastiani, 46, led authorities on a 45-mile chase from South Lake Tahoe, up and over U.S. 50 to Carson City and then south to Gardnerville Aug. 26.

Debastiani appeared in Tahoe Township Justice Court on Aug. 28, where his bail was set at $25,000 for assault with a deadly weapon and attempt to elude. He also faces a gross misdemeanor for failure to stop at a roadblock and a passel of traffic violations, including driving under the influence.

He is scheduled to return to court on Tuesday.

According to an affidavit filed in support of the charges, South Lake Tahoe police alerted deputies in Stateline that a motorhome was heading north without headlights on 50 at 10:33 p.m. Sunday.

In addition to running without lights, the 1997 Airstream motorhome was swerving into oncoming traffic. The deputy followed the Airstream to 50 and Sewer Plant Road where he activated his lights. Rather than stop, Debastiani accelerated hitting 80 mph in the 45 mph zone along Lake Tahoe and crossing the double yellow line.

Deputies followed the motorhome down 50 to Carson City where two spike strips were laid out, which damaged the tires on the vehicle’s right side. As the rubber began to tear away from the rims, a shower of sparks sprayed out behind Debastiani as he continued down U.S. 395 south toward Minden, where a roadblock was waiting. Debastiani drove the motorhome onto Highway 88 and around the Maverik parking lot before driving across the dirt lot north of the parking lot and then over the landscaping along the highway.

He drove around another roadblock at Buckeye and U.S. 395 in Minden where deputies had to dive out of his path. He also aimed the motor home at a patrol car.

The motorhome’s rims left a deep groove in the highway as Debastiani swerved back and forth across the road through Gardnerville before running the Airstream into the old Ritchford stables at Douglas Avenue, where it took out a column.

Deputies took advantage of the pause to board the motorhome and struggled to get Debastiani cuffed before finally taking him into custody.

Debastiani was taken to Carson Valley Medical Center for treatment of injuries received in the incident.

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