SAN RAFAEL – A 44-year-old San Rafael man was in jail Sunday night, one day after he allegedly chased his girlfriend and her adult daughter down the freeway during a high-speed pursuit in which the women’s vehicle was rammed multiple times.
Marin County authorities say the incident began Saturday afternoon with a heated confrontation at the couple’s Grand Paseo home. The girlfriend and her adult daughter fled the residence in a gray Pontiac, and were reportedly followed by a tan Toyota pickup truck driven by the woman’s boyfriend, Joseph Aaron Defenbaugh, 44, of San Rafael.
The women entered U.S. 101, driving southbound from Marinwood and intending to get help from California Highway Patrol officers at the nearby weigh station. Racing down the freeway, authorities say Defenbaugh rammed the women’s Pontiac from behind three times while they were driving southbound on the freeway between Marinwood and the Merrydale exit.
The women told authorities they traveled between 75 and 85 MPH in their attempt to escape the suspect, passing many other drivers on the way, according to Lt. Barry Heying of the Marin County Sheriff’s Department.
The victim’s daughter managed to maintain control of her car and they lost sight of the suspect near the Lincoln Avenue exit. They then stopped shortly afterward in San Rafael and reported the attack at around 4:30 p.m. The Pontiac was damaged, but the women were not injured.
Law enforcement agencies across Marin were alerted to be on the lookout for Defenbaugh. On Sunday, Defenbaugh was spotted around 7:30 p.m. by Deputy Matt Larson while on patrol in Marinwood. He was stopped on Cedarberry Drive and arrested without incident.
Defenbaugh was booked into the Marin County jail on charges of domestic violence, false imprisonment, assault with a deadly weapon and possession of methamphetamine.