Jessica Cejnar Andrews / Wednesday, Aug. 2 @ 3:53 p.m. / Crime
Del Norte Judge Releases DUI Suspect, Cites 2021 California Supreme Court Case Regarding Cash Bail
A Del Norte County Superior Court judge released a 22-year-old DUI suspect on his own recognizance Wednesday over objections from the District Attorney's Office that the defendant posed a threat to victims in the case.
Judge Robert Cochran referred In re Kenneth Humphrey, a 2021 California Supreme Court case that restricts the use of cash bail for defedants that can't afford it, as his reason for releasing Jacob Euen-Burnell Ogden.
Ogden allegedly led law enforcement on a high-speed chase in a stolen Porsche that began in Bandon, Oregon, on Thursday. The chase ended at about 11:04 p.m. Thursday after Ogden allegedly crashed the car into a home at 9th Street and U.S. 101 in Crescent City.
According to Deputy District Attorney Eric Bryant, one victim was sent to the hospital with a possible broken hip and other suspected serious injuries. Another victim in the case, the Porsche’s owner, stated he felt defendant targeted him because he allegedly took the car when it was parked in front of his business, Bryant said.
But Cochran said he felt his hands were tied.
“I don’t think this comes to the level that allows me to keep him in jail,” Cochran told Bryant on Wednesday. “Had he beat him up and carjacked him and threatened to kill him if he talks to the cops, okay.”
Ogden, who is homeless, entered a plea of not guilty through his public defender, Karen Olson.
Ogden is charged with vehicle theft; possessing a controlled substance; driving under the influence resulting in death or great bodily injury; evading a peace officer with wanton disregard for safety; evading a peace officer causing serious injury or death; providing a false ID to a peace officer; excessive blood alcohol; and driving 20 miles per hour over the posted speed limit.
According to an Opposition to Release filed by the Del Norte District Attorney’s Office, Ogden allegedly reached speeds of 138 miles per hour on U.S. 101 and only slowed to 60 mph when the California Highway Patrol tried to initiate a traffic stop.
The chase continued on U.S. 101 past Northcrest Drive. At a curve in the highway near 9th Street, the defendant allegedly lost control of the vehicle, collided with a curb, retaining wall and fence and hit two homes.
When they found the car in the rubble, a CHP officer saw a male adult lying on the ground yelling, saying he had been run over and his back wsas broken.
Ogden allegedly provided a false name when he spoke with police. The CHP officer noted that the defendant’s pupils were pinpoints, his eyes kept rolling into the back of his head and he was falling asleep. CHP also found a glass pipe with burnt residue that looked like a methamphetamine pipe, according to the Opposition to Release document.
In addition to arguing that Ogden has no ties to Del Norte County, Bryant said the defendant was held in contempt of court in Oregon for failing to comply with a restraining order. Bryant also argued that in addition to the owner of the Porsche and the individual sent to the hospital, the owner of the home Ogden allegedly crashed into is also a victim.
“He does pose a risk of harm, he did hurt someone and he’s a flight risk with no ties to Del Norte County,” Bryant told Cochran.
In a Tuesday email to the Outpost, the defendant's mother, Clarissa Ogden, said her son has been suffering from depression for months and has reached out for help several times. He became addicted to methamphetamine as a way of self medicating, Clarissa Ogden said, and has been living on the streets in Coos Bay before allegedly stealing the Porsche in Bandon.
"His father and I had tried numerous attempts to get him help through the Coos Bay and North Bend Police department and Coos County mental health as well as the mobile response team as he was a threat to himself and to others," she said. "This kid was turned away every time because he himself was not in the frame of mind to consider himself in need of help."
Clarissa Ogden said she kept hearing "our hands are tied" numerous times though the officers that encountered her son all said he needed mental health treatment.
"He does not need to be released onto the streets like what happened here," she said.
As part of the defendant’s conditions for release, Cochran required Ogden to report to probation daily as long as he’s homeless. Ogden is also required to submit to twice-weekly drug tests as well as on-demand drug testing. Ogden is also prohibited from leaving Del Norte County unless the Del Norte County Probation Department authorizes it, Cochran said.
Ogden is also prohibited from communicating with the victims in the case “even if it’s well intentioned and you want to call (or) apologize for your stupidity,” Cochran said.
“You ought to be thanking the good Lord that you didn’t kill somebody,” Cochran told Ogden. “You endangered a lot of people. That fellow in the garage, you skipped killing him by inches. There’s no excuse.”
In response to the judge's prohibition against leaving Del Norte, Ogden said he was "not going anywhere."
Ogden is expected to appear in court for a preliminary hearing on Aug. 28.