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Two teens arrested at end of hour-plus freeway chase following armed carjacking in Livermore

Minivan stolen while new driver was practicing behind the wheel with dad in parking lot
Damage to the carjacked Honda Odyssey after the hour-plus pursuit on June 20.

Two Merced teenagers were taken into custody last week after allegedly leading California Highway Patrol officers on a high-speed chase up and down multiple freeways in a minivan carjacked at gunpoint in Livermore more than an hour earlier.

Livermore police reported the Honda Odyssey was stolen by the pair -- and a third assailant who remains at-large -- from a local boy who was practicing how to drive with his father in the parking lot of Ross Dress for Less on West Jack London Boulevard on the night of June 20.

Ervin Alberto Bravo, 18, who was arrested after the CHP used undisclosed "intervention techniques" to end the pursuit in a Merced County town nearly 75 miles from Livermore, faces five felony charges and a slew of special allegations in connection with the armed carjacking.

Police said a 16-year-old boy from Merced was also arrested that night, behind the wheel of the stolen minivan, but the Alameda County District Attorney's Office declined to comment on the status of the boy's case, citing juvenile confidentiality. The boy's name has not been released.

Bravo is scheduled to appear in court next week for bail and entry-of-plea proceedings, according to the DA's office. It was not immediately clear whether he was yet represented by an attorney.

The incident began around 8:45 p.m. on June 20 in the Ross parking lot where the new driver had just parked the minivan with his father observing him from the sidewalk, police said. A silver Mazda5 with three occupants then suddenly pulled up next to the minivan.

"The front passenger ... from the sedan exited the car and pointed a gun at Victim and told him to get out of his car," Livermore police Detective Jennifer Bloom wrote in a probable cause declaration.

The young new driver complied after being threatened with a rifle-type gun, and the 16-year-old assailant and Bravo allegedly got into the Honda Odyssey and sped away while the third culprit drove from the scene in the Mazda5. Police said the third suspect remains at-large.

After Livermore officers spoke with the boy and his father, police broadcast an alert for other law enforcement with the license plate number and vehicle description of the Odyssey. According to Bloom, CHP officers spotted the minivan three minutes later near Interstate 580 and Greenville Road, noting that was "a reasonable distance to drive from the time of the incident."

CHP units attempted a traffic stop, but the minivan evaded them. "CHP pursued the suspects for over an hour, where the suspects continued to drive at speeds over 100 MPH and without regard for the safety of the public," Bloom wrote.

The pursuit went from eastbound I-580 out to Tracy, then northbound on I-5 into Stockton and then turning around and back down I-5 south of Tracy toward Merced County, according to police.

At one point during the chase, an object was thrown out of the passenger side of the minivan, sparking after it hit the right shoulder of I-5, according to Bloom. Officers returned to search the area after the arrests but were unable to locate the object.

CHP units ultimately ended the pursuit using "intervention techniques" in the town of Ballico around 10 p.m., Bloom said.

The 16-year-old driver was taken into custody without incident on suspicion of carjacking and evading police, and booked into Alameda County Juvenile Hall, police said.

Bravo, who was in the front passenger seat, was also arrested without incident and was wearing an ankle monitor at the time while on active juvenile probation for gang and gun convictions, according to Bloom.

The detective alleged that while searching the minivan, officers found a 30-round rifle magazine with 28 rounds of 9mm ammunition -- which did not belong to the victim.

Prosecutors charged Bravo on June 22 with felony counts of carjacking, second-degree robbery, assault with a semiautomatic firearm, unlawful firearm possession and child abuse. He also faces six to seven special allegations per felony count for charges such as using a firearm, great violence, probation violation and targeting a vulnerable victim.

Bravo, who was booked into Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, is scheduled to appear in court on July 7 for a bail motion and July 8 to enter a plea to the charges, according to prosecutors.

Livermore police publicly reported the 18-year-old arrestee's name as Ervin Bravobautista, but the DA's office charged him under the name Ervin Alberto Bravo.


About the Author: Jeremy Walsh

Jeremy, a Benicia native and American University alum, joined Embarcadero Media in November 2013. After serving as associate editor for the Pleasanton Weekly and, he was promoted to editor of the East Bay Division in February 2017.
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