Guilty plea in cab theft

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

taxiSAN DIEGO — A 21-year-old man who stole a taxicab minutes after getting released from the downtown jail, then led police on a short road chase before being re-arrested, pleaded guilty Friday to felony auto theft and possession of a controlled substance.

The convictions for Qais Yonisi will be reduced to misdemeanors if he completes a drug rehabilitation program, said Deputy District Attorney Jessica Coto. Formal sentencing is set for June 24.

Yonisi was originally arrested Nov. 5 on drug charges. He bailed out of jail about 6 a.m. the next day and jumped into the back of a taxi, telling the cabbie that someone was trying to kill him and to drive off.

A short time later, Yonisi took over control of the taxi, according to prosecutors.

Officers caught up with Yonisi a short time later on State Route 15, near Market Street, SDPD spokesman Ed Zwibel said. The defendant refused to yield and fled to the north, entering Interstate 805 before exiting onto University Avenue in North Park.

Yonisi proceeded to flee to the west and south for a short distance, then pulled over in the 3800 block of Boundary Street and surrendered peaceably.