By Allen Pierleoni
Wanted fugitive Michael Paul Thompson and parolee-at-large Ricky "Smoke" Gonzales were surprised Friday night when they walked out of the Days Inn motel off Interstate 5 and Lathrop Road.
Waiting for them about 7 p.m. in the parking lot were officers on surveillance from the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force, ready with handcuffs.
Thompson and Gonzalez spotted the approaching officers, raced across the parking lot, jumped into a Cadillac Escalade and sped away, followed by the deputies.
Thompson was convicted in 2010 of distributing methamphetamine and sentenced to 10 years in federal prison. Fifteen months later, he escaped from prison in Southern California. He had made comments that he would not return.
Police held an outstanding parolee-at-large warrant on Gonzales.
With deputies in close pursuit, Thompson erratically drove the Escalade onto northbound Interstate 5, weaving in and out of traffic lanes at speeds exceeding 100 mph. The chase was joined by the California Highway Patrol and Stockton police when Thompson exited at the County Club Boulevard off-ramp and sped recklessly through Stockton, ignoring stop lights and stop signs.
Eventually, the chase ended when the Escalade crashed into a police cruiser. Pursuing officers jumped out of their cruisers with guns drawn and ordered Thompson and Gonzales to the ground. Both men were taken into custody.
Thompson, 32, was booked into the Sacramento County Jail to await an appearance in Sacramento federal court. Gonzales was booked in the San Joaquin County Jail.