Aptos Man on Drugs Crashes Into Homes, Breaks a Woman's Arm and Terrorizes a Neighborhood

Neighbors were terrorized, but police say this was more a case of a bad drug trip than a dangerous criminal.

A bad drug trip led to violence New Year's Eve
A bad drug trip led to violence New Year's Eve

Witnesses and police said a 39-year-old man began the New Year by kicking down several doors in an Aptos mobile home park on Mar Vista Drive, seriously injuring a 61-year-old woman and a man in his 60s and threatening others.

It took seven deputies to arrest Chad Jeremy Mitcham, 6-feet-tall and 200 pounds, while he lashed out at them and kept fighting despite being shot four times with a Taser. Several deputies were hurt in the melee. One was bitten. 

The confrontation began at 3:30 a.m. New Year's Eve, according to musician Vinny Johnson, who had met the man earlier in the day because he was supposed to rent a home in the park. But he wasn't supposed to move in until Jan. 15.

Later that night, Johnson heard a window break and saw Mitcham holding his arm around the neck of a woman dragging her through broken glass.

When Johnson tried to talk to him, he hit him.

Deputies and CHP officers arrived in five minutes and heard a woman scream. Witnesses saw Mitcham kick in the door to a home occupied by two women and he kicked one of them down the steps, breaking her arm.

He reportedly threatened to cut their throats and said he was looking for men's shoes.
"I don't want to compromise the investigation, but this was really brutal," said Johnson. "This guy terrorized the neighborhood and everyone is worried about him."

Mitcham got the rental through a Craigslist ad. The woman he assaulted was a friend of his visiting from Utah and she told neighbors that Mitcham was a good guy who was trying to clean up his life. Apparently, both were on drugs, witnesses said.

Sheriff's spokesman Ryan Kennedy said Mitcham is in Dominican Hospital for injuries and will be charged with multiple felony assaults, however, he said, Mitcham had no criminal record and was under the influence of psychedelic mushrooms.

"He's a normal guy who holds a job as a biologist," said Kennedy. "Some people take 'shrooms or acid and just kind of trip. Some go off the deep end. He was on mushrooms and he lost his mind. He was on a crazy drug trip. It doesn't really excuse it."

Kennedy said the neighbors didn't have to worry because this was an aberration. Mitcham had no criminal record and when he came down off the drugs, he didn't remember much of what happened.  

JoMont January 04, 2014 at 10:01 AM
Let's please not forget the two officers we lost in the recent past. This is a little too close for comfort, as far as I'm concerned. Had guns entered into this, it might have looked very different.
Carolina January 04, 2014 at 12:38 PM
Let's just say that drugs should just be out of here. Let's kick drugs out of the city. Period.
Oedi January 04, 2014 at 01:37 PM
My sarcasm IFF can't seem to determine whether Carolina's comment is a bogey or a bandit. Malfunction or good cloaking? From what I've been told by users of psilocybin mushrooms, this doesn't sound like a result of them. It *does* sound like meth or PCP might've been in there, and I have to wonder why the Sheriff's Department was sure that it was shrooms unless there was physical or chemical evidence — and, if that were the case, why they didn't say so.
Oedi January 04, 2014 at 01:39 PM
(Brad, is there any way to fix the code so we can have paragraph breaks? I'm an old-school newspaper guy; I like short grafs.)
Leslie Zhang January 05, 2014 at 04:42 PM
A bad trip and a typically good guy? How can the public just chalk it up to "oh well"? The two women injured are dear friends and what about their lives and how this act of violence is affecting them? This man needs to be either in jail or institutionalized for recovery. "Kennedy said the neighbors didn't have to worry because this was an aberration. Mitcham had no criminal record and when he came down off the drugs, he didn't remember much of what happened." - No way. I would not have an irresponsible person living next to me.


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