A shoplifting suspect who allegedly assaulted police officers in Novato on Thursday led authorities on a chase to San Rafael, where he was arrested after a collision with another vehicle.

The crash injured two people in the other car and blocked both lanes of the connector ramp from southbound Highway 101 to Interstate 580. Heavy traffic resulted in central San Rafael.

Donald Ray Eames, 32, of Oakland was booked into Marin County Jail on suspicion of assault, burglary, false impersonation, battery against police, resisting arrest and conspiracy.

Police also arrested a suspected accomplice who was detained at the original crime scene in Novato. Cecilia Kashun Watson, 34, of Berkeley was booked into Marin

County Jail on suspicion of burglary, conspiracy and resisting arrest.

The incident began at about 2 p.m., when Novato police received a report of a possible shoplifting-in-progress at the Designer Shoe Warehouse in the Vintage Oaks Shopping Center.

Store employees recognized the two suspects, a man and a woman, as the same people who allegedly targeted the same store on Aug. 14, said Novato police Sgt. Sasha D'Amico.

Police arrived while the suspects were there. The male suspect provided false identification to police, then lunged at one of the officers and punched him in the face, D'Amico said.

Both suspects fled the store. The woman ran across the parking lot and was detained by private security guards.

The man allegedly ran to a nearby vehicle, fought off police, got in the car and drove directly at an officer while fleeing. The officer jumped out of the way in time to avoid being hit.

A Novato officer called dispatchers with the license plate number and a description of the car, which was registered to an East Bay address. Novato police alerted other law enforcement agencies to watch for the car, a dark Chevy Impala LT.

A short time later, sheriff's Deputy Michael Thompson spotted the suspect vehicle in Terra Linda and chased it south on Highway 101. San Rafael police also responded.

When the Impala reached central San Rafael, it took the connector ramp to eastbound Interstate 580. The Impala crashed into a Toyota Corolla on the connector ramp, said California Highway Patrol Officer Andrew Barclay.

The suspect was arrested at gunpoint. He was identified as Eames.

The occupants of the Toyota Corolla suffered minor injuries in the crash, according to a San Rafael fire spokesman. Firefighters took them to Kaiser Permanente Medical Center for treatment.

Police brought Eames and the Impala to a parking lot off Bellam Boulevard for further investigation. Police searched the Impala and found numerous articles of clothing with price tags from The Gap.

Police placed the merchandise into the truck of a patrol car, along with Eames' detached prosthetic leg, and took him away for questioning.

The investigation is continuing.

A manager at the Designer Shoe Warehouse declined to comment on the incident.

Contact Gary Klien via email at gklien@marinij.com or https://twitter.com/GaryKlien

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©2013 The Marin Independent Journal (Novato, Calif.)

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