A false report of a road rage incident in Contra Costa County on Tuesday led authorities on a search for kidnappers before they figured out they were dealing with a case involving the transport of an illegal immigrant.
About 2:30 p.m., the California Highway Patrol responded to calls of an accident caused by angry drivers on California 4 in Concord, according to Officer Tom Maguire.
Officers discovered a 1996 green Mercury Sable wagon in the eastbound lanes near Solano Way, he said. Its driver, Javier Mendoza, 35, of Oakland, said he'd been struck by a white van whose occupants then got out, grabbed his sister-in-law and forced her into their vehicle, Maguire said.
About a dozen officers began investigating the incident as a kidnapping as they searched for Ivis Roxanna, 34, he said. But when officers interviewed Mendoza's former wife, the story took a twist.
"Through contact with Mr. Mendoza's ex-wife, who is Miss Roxanna's sister, our investigators learned the kidnapping charge was false," Maguire said. "Mr. Mendoza had arranged Miss Roxanna's transport to this area illegally from another country, agreeing on some sort of money."
It appears that when Mendoza arrived to pick up Roxanna without enough money, the transporters drove away and a highway chase ensued. After the collision, Mendoza's car was not in driving condition and the van left with Roxanna, who was later abandoned in nearby San Ramon, Maguire said.
Officers took Mendoza and Roxanna into custody. They are still searching for Jose Sanchez, 24, Mendoza's passenger, as well as the 2001 white Chevrolet van.