A motorcyclist who led San Bruno police on a high-speed chase down the Peninsula was sentenced to 14 years and eight months in prison for hitting and dragging an officer who spotted him lingering around the scene of the city’s deadly 2010 explosion and fire
Paul Anthony Lee, 36, faced up to 19 years and eight months in prison after a jury convicted the second-striker of evading a police officer, battery on an officer and assault on an officer with a deadly weapon, in reference to his vehicle.
The jury deliberated less than a day before returning its verdict in September 2012, two years after the incident. He had been free on a $100,000 property bond but was taken into custody once convicted.
Lee’s case made headlines because it was the first case linked to the deadly gas line explosion and fire that significantly damaged the Glenview neighborhood and killed eight. A San Bruno police officer and gang enforcement officer securing the area spotted Lee and a woman on his motorcycle at the end of the fire scene hours after the Sept. 9, 2010 blaze erupted. One officer, checking on Lee’s intent, asked him to dismount the bike but he instead sped away. An officer grabbed Lee’s jacket and was dragged several feet before Lee drove over his foot and sped up to 60 mph through the city to Highway 101. The chase ended in San Carlos when the motorcycle died and Lee was apprehended.
Lee reportedly told authorities after his arrest he was riding around the scene to look at the remains and fled out of fear because of previous convictions. At the time of his latest arrest, Lee was on parole for having been sent to prison in 2003 for possession of a controlled substance and a firearm, in 2005 for attempted kidnapping of his ex-girlfriend in front of her family and in 2009 for possession of methamphetamine.
Prior to sentencing on the new case, Lee sought a new trial on the basis of ineffective counsel but, after a five-hour hearing that included testimony from his original defense attorney, Judge Lisa Novak denied the request. She also denied the defense request to dismiss the prior strike conviction from sentencing consideration.