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Atascadero police arrest man suspected in high-speed chase, stand-off following house fire

Police say Charles Scovell will be booked into SLO County Jail later Tuesday
Atascadero police arrest man suspected of arson after high-speed chase & stand-off
Posted at 8:04 AM, Aug 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-28 00:31:19-04

UPDATE (2:30 p.m.) - Charles Scovell, 40, was booked into San Luis Obispo County Jail shortly before noon Tuesday, according to jail logs. He faces felony charges of evading officers and reckless driving, obstructing or resisting officers and violating parole. Bail is set at $150,000.

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ORIGINAL STORY: A house fire, high-speed pursuit and hours-long standoff with multiple law enforcement agencies has resulted in the arrest of a man well-known to local police.

At about 7:20 p.m. Monday, police and firefighters were called to the 1500 block of El Camino Real in Atascadero where a home was engulfed in flames.

A joint investigation into the house fire was launched by the Atascadero fire and police departments due to evidence found that the fire was intentionally set, according to police.

Police say witnesses of the house fire told officers they saw a truck drive away quickly from the burning home. Officers say they learned the truck belonged to a man identified as Charles Scovell, who police say lived in the house that caught fire.

At about 11:45 p.m. Monday, police say one of their officers found Scovell's truck at the Motel 6 in Atascadero. The officer tried to stop Scovell but Scovell sped off into the Paso Robles area.

Multiple law enforcement agencies assisted in chasing Scovell on Highway 46 East, past Airport Road in Paso Robles.

Atascadero police say Scovell then turned around and headed back toward the Highway 46 and Highway 101 intersection.

The high-speed chase continued on to Highway 101 southbound into Atascadero where police say spike strips were laid out on the highway at Curbaril Avenue.

Police say Scovell's truck hit the spike strips but he was able to keep driving back to the same Motel 6 where the officer first spotted his vehicle.

Scovell abandoned his truck in the driveway of the Motel 6 and barricaded himself in a room he had rented earlier in the day, according to investigators.

Police say officers surrounded Scovell's room and asked him to surrender but he would not cooperate.

Atascadero police say due to Scovell's "violent history," they called in the SLO County Special Enforcement Detail team to help with taking the suspect into custody.

The standoff spanned the overnight and early-morning hours until the specially-trained officers were able to break into Scovell's motel room, according to police.

Scovell was taken to the hospital for injuries he suffered during the ordeal.

Police say he will be booked into SLO County Jail later Tuesday and faces charges including evading a police officer and resisting arrest.

Meanwhile, Atascadero police and fire department investigators are looking to the suspected arson fire.

Fire officials say it took firefighters about 30 minutes to control the fire and one firefighter suffered a minor injury.

Total damage is estimated at $265,000.

In December 2016, Scovell was arrested after police say he tried to rob a bank in Paso Robles.

Earlier that same year, he was involved in another standoff with authorities and charged with felony domestic violence and assault with a deadly weapon.

He accepted a plea deal for those charges and avoided jail time.

In 2014, Scovell unsuccessfully ran for mayor of Atascadero.