An Arkansas couple pleaded no contest to multiple felony charges this week in connection with a South Davis carjacking incident that also launched an identity-theft probe, according to the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office.
James Hammons, 34, of Rodgers, Ark., and 39-year-old Sara Erbe of Fayetteville, Ark., are scheduled to be sentenced April 11 before Yolo Superior Court Judge Timothy Fall. Hammons faces a 12-year state prison sentence, while Erbe is looking at a two-year, eight-month term in a county facility, District Attorney Jeff Reisig said.
They entered their pleas on Monday as the case was about to go to trial. Hammons pleaded no contest to carjacking, felony evading a police officer, vehicle theft, receipt of stolen property, possession of marijuana for sale and possession of personal identifying information of 10 or more people. Erbe admitted to counts of vehicle theft, possession of marijuana for sale and possession of personal identifying information of 10 or more people.
Their attorneys could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Both were arrested on Oct. 8, 2012, when Davis police Officer Trevor Edens noticed a suspicious-looking car outside the Motel 6 on Chiles Road and learned that it had been reported stolen. When Edens confronted Hammons as he left his motel room and approached the car, Hammons reportedly fled.
He ran to the drive-through lane of the nearby Taco Bell restaurant and tried unsuccessfully to get into one car before telling another driver he had a gun and taking her vehicle, authorities said. A high-speed chase ensued to the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, where Hammons reportedly crashed through a metal gate and drove along levee roads before hiding out in a corn field.
He was arrested several hours later following a search by air and ground units, including a police K-9 that apprehended him.
During the follow-up investigation, Hammons and Erbe, who had been staying with Hammons at the Motel 6, were found in possession of driver’s licenses, credit cards, Social Security cards, checking account and health insurance documents for more than 60 different people in at least six states, according to Reisig. They also had stolen property, methamphetamine and marijuana.
The pair also had outstanding arrest warrants out of Arkansas, where they face additional criminal charges, Reisig said.
“Without the great police work by Davis Police Department, Sheriff’s Office, the CHP and other agencies, these two offenders would have continued unchecked in their cross-country crime spree,” Reisig said in a news release.