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Monterey County Judge to rule if South County chase suspect is mentally competent to stand trial

SALINAS, Calif. (KION) The suspect in deadly car chase in Soledad did not enter a plea on Monday. The defense attorney filed for "mental health doubt," where the judge will have to rule whether or not the suspect is mentally competent to stand trial for his actions. The hearing will take place on Dec. 8.

Paulo Cesar Alcaraz Ortiz made his first appearance in court on Thursday, Nov. 18, where Ortiz attempted to plead guilty in court. Ortiz's attorney, Alex Cardinale, formally pleaded not guilty, asking for more time to review the case. His arraignment was pushed to Monday.

The car chase from Greenfield to Soledad earlier this week ended with two injured police officials -- one of them was Soledad Police Chief Damon Wasson -- and killed a pedestrian.

Court documents filed this week also identified the Greenfield officer who was injured in the incident as Officer B. Solis.

Paulo Cesar Alcaraz Ortiz is expected to be charged with murder by the Monterey County District Attorney's office as a result of the incident. He's also accused of evading police and facing charges for injuring the officer and police chief.

Read more: Police identify suspect accused of killing a pedestrian, injuring Soledad Police Chief during the chase

According to the court, Ortiz had multiple traffic violations in the last three years. He's been in court for not wearing a seat belt and speeding.

In October he was accused of running a stop sign, but none of these violations were as severe as Tuesday's incident.

This story was updated on Nov. 22, 2021 at 4:05 p.m. to include the defense attorney's declaration in the recent court appearance.

CORRECTION Nov. 18 at 3:20 p.m.: Ortiz did have formal representation at the time he attempted to plead guilty.

The story was updated at Nov. 18, 2021 at 2:11 p.m. to include updates from the court appearance.

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Melody Waintal

Melody Waintal is the Digital Content Director at KION News Channel 5/46.

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Jonathan Sarabia

Jonathan is a multi-media journalist at KION News Channel 5/46.


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