Jury selection is slated to get under way today in the trial of a man accused of sexually assaulting a French Valley woman and leading law enforcement officers on a 100-mile chase across the desert before he was captured.
Bryan Mayo Tangas, 23, could face 10 years in prison if convicted of forcible rape, false imprisonment and reckless evading in connection with the alleged Feb. 12 attack.
Riverside County Superior Court Judge Albert Wojcik is expected to summon several panels of prospective jurors to his Murrieta courtroom today for screening as to their availability and qualifications.
Tangas remains held held in lieu of $200,000 bail at the Southwest Detention Center in Murrieta.
According to sheriff’s Sgt. Kevin McDonald, a French Valley woman called deputies shortly after 5 a.m. on Feb. 12 and alleged that a friend had sexually assaulted her at her home in the 32000 block of Dowling Court.
The woman, identified in court documents as Jane Doe, told deputies that she managed to get away from Tangas, who drove around trying to find her, but couldn’t by the time patrol officers arrived.
A deputy searching in the area of Buck and Borrell roads spotted the 6-foot-3, 180-pound defendant, who immediately fled in his car, speeding onto Rancho California Road toward Temecula, where he reached Interstate 15 and headed north, McDonald said.
Deputies turned the pursuit over to California Highway Patrol officers, who chased Tangas at high speed all the way to Barstow, according to the sergeant.
He said officers deployed spike strips, disabling the defendant’s vehicle, at which point he was arrested.