SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — El Dorado County Sheriff’s investigators say a man stabbed an employee of a South Lake Tahoe Toyota dealership during a test drive late Monday morning.
The 29-year-old car salesman was able to escape and provide a description of the suspect, along with the direction his attacker was headed.
The first deputy to respond to the scene took the victim, who was stabbed in the leg, to the hospital in his patrol car.
Soon after a deputy and CHP officer spotted the suspect, 45-year-old Jonathan Paget, in the stolen Dodge Durango along Highway 89. After a brief pursuit, the SUV crashed into a wall of snow along the highway.
Paget tried to run but officers caught and arrested him on suspicion of attempted murder and carjacking.
The victim underwent surgery. A friend and coworker at the Lake Tahoe Boulevard dealership told FOX40 he is doing alright.
General Manager Brad Wade said he’s been in the business for more than 35 years and this is the first time anything like this has happened. He said despite what happened to one of his employees, his dealership isn’t changing its policy.
Employees will continue to accompany prospective buyers during a test drive of a vehicle for sale.
“A guy that come up and do that kind of stuff to somebody, that’s insane,” said local resident James Anderson.
Investigators say this wasn’t Paget’s first run-in with law enforcement. On St. Patrick’s Day, deputies in Esmeralda County in Nevada arrested him for a similar incident. He was booked on suspicion of breaking into a vacant property, tampering with a vehicle, theft and assault with a deadly weapon.
“I don’t know how long he was in jail for, but you would think it would be long enough to not let it happen again a second time,” said resident Anthony Prevost.