Residents help cops corral suspect |

Residents help cops corral suspect

A body block didn’t stop him, but the wet sand of Lakeside Beach and two police officers did.

The chase began on Lake Parkway behind the casinos near Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course. Mickey DeMartini, 20, of Gardnerville began driving erratically and then tried to elude a sheriff’s deputy after the deputy pulled behind his silver Honda Accord, the deputy said.

DeMartini drove through the casino corridor, turned right onto Park Avenue and took a left onto Azure Road. He stopped at the dead end, got out and bolted back toward Park.

Richard Morgan, 22, of Gardnerville never left the passenger seat of DeMartini’s car. He was handcuffed and taken into police custody.

DeMartini was met by two men at the corner of Azure and Park. Marvin Stewart, 56, and Randy Gonser, 53, both of South Lake Tahoe, heard sirens and stopped work when they realized what was going on.

“He bailed out (of the car) with a box under his arm and came out running,” Gonser said. “I tried to grab him.”

“He came at us,” Stewart said. “I threw a body block on him and both of us went down. We chased him until he looked like he was reaching for something, so we backed off.”

DeMartini escaped down Meadow Road, climbing a fence at its dead end that leads to Tahoe Meadows and Lakeside Beach. At some point during DeMartini’s run, he tossed the lock box into some brush, where officers later found it.

Two officers finally cornered DeMartini at 11:15 a.m. on the beach, several yards from Lake Tahoe. The officers, buffeted by winds from the storm, drew their guns and ordered him to keep his face in the sand while they handcuffed him.

Police searched the car, the area and got a warrant to open the lock box. The search turned up nothing more than what appeared to be traces of pot in the lock box, said South Lake Tahoe police Sgt. Terry Daniels.

Morgan was released from custody and DeMartini was booked on felony charges of evading an officer.

— Gregory Crofton can be reached at (530) 542-8045 or by e-mail at

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