Man sent to jail for police chase involving children

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (KTVU and wires) --An East Palo Alto man has been sentenced to four years in prison for leading California Highway Patrol officers on a high-speed chase through San Mateo County in April while his two young children were in the car, prosecutors said.

   John Bivins, 24, pleaded no contest to evading police and child endangerment and was sentenced by Judge Leland Davis to four years in prison, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office. He received a stiffer sentence because of a prior strike on his record.

   Bivins was spotted going 85 mph on Interstate Highway 280 near Bunker Hill Drive at about 9:30 p.m. on April 29. A CHP officer pulled him over but when the officer got out of his patrol car, Bivins sped off.

   The officer lost sight of the car as Bivins sped away at 100 mph. He was later spotted heading south on U.S. Highway 101 at 115 mph in Redwood City, prosecutors said.

   Eventually he got off the freeway at Willow Road in Menlo Park and continued speeding through city streets at 40 mph, running stop signs and veering into wrong lanes of traffic.

   Bivins stopped at Bay Road and Berkeley Avenue in Menlo Park and took off running from the car. Police searched the area and found him hiding behind garbage cans in the area, prosecutors said.

   Back in the car, officers found his two children, ages 4 and 5, in the back seat of the car with their mother. The children did not have car seats, but Bivins' defense attorney Tom Kelley said at least one of them was 
wearing a seatbelt.

   Kelley said he doesn't think it's possible given the distance and time covered that Bivins was going as fast as the CHP officers said, but he didn't dispute the overall facts of the case.

   Bivins fled because he had a warrant for his arrest and he didn't want to go to jail and be separated from his family, Kelley said.

   He is remorseful and might not have received such a stiff sentence, but because he had a prior strike on his record for a burglary conviction, the judge's hands were tied, the attorney said.

   "It's a very unfortunate situation, you've kind of got to live with what happened," Kelley said. "He's aware of that."