Police chase stirs up quiet neighborhood

Driver reportedly fled from traffic stop
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A police pursuit for a man claiming to be with the FBI broke the silence of a quiet Auburn neighborhood Monday morning. Amy Nelson, who lives on the corner Finley Street and Linden Avenue in Auburn, said she was playing on her computer when she heard sirens nearby a little after 9 a.m. Nelson said she used her crutches to hobble over to her front door and peered out from her porch. She said she saw several Placer County Sheriff’s patrol cars with sirens on coming down her street. “It looked like a chase because there were multiple Placer County Sheriff’s cars,” Nelson said. The scene Nelson witnessed was indeed a chase. At about 8:56 a.m., an Auburn Police officer pulled over the driver of a 1979 red GMC Suburban for lack of registration, its headlights were off and a brake light was out on Highway 49 near Palm Avenue, according to Officer Brent Froberg. Froberg said that the officer was standing outside of his vehicle when the driver, Michael Stephen Axton, 45, stepped out and pointed a small black object at the officer. The law enforcement official ran behind his car to take cover and Axton took off in his vehicle, Froberg said. Froberg said the chase traveled from Highway 49 to Elm Avenue to Shirley and Garfield streets then to westbound Interstate 80. Froberg said that Axton was driving at about 45 mph on Highway 49 and about 65 mph on the freeway. Axton reportedly drove on Highway 193 until he turned to backtrack eastbound in Interstate 80. “There wasn’t any traffic around so it wasn’t as dangerous as it could’ve been,” Froberg said. “We were lucky there.” Froberg said at that point the two officers driving after Axton called the Placer County Sheriff’s Office for help. Deputies stationed at the Maple Avenue exit put a spike strip on the off ramp, which blew out one of the SUV’s tired, Froberg said. However, the blown tire didn’t stop Axton. He continued into Old Town Auburn via Lincoln Way, passed city hall, went through central square and up to Linden Avenue across Cherry Avenue until he reached a dead-end street. Axton reportedly jumped out of his car and ran into the woods. Froberg said that Axton would not drop the metal bars he had in each of his hands and was hit by a Taser stun gun after he continued to disregard police and deputy commands to stop. Froberg said that Axton was “incoherent” when officers tried to talk to him. “He said he was with the FBI,” Froberg said. Axton was arrested and booked in Placer County Jail on a felony charge of evading a peace officer and a misdemeanor charge of obstructing a public officer. He is being held on $47,500 bail. Froberg said that aside from minor injuries to two officers, the chase was “under control.” “There were no serious injuries or collisions and that’s saying something because of the density of our city,” Froberg said. Nelson said the commotion definitely startled her otherwise quiet morning. “It’s such a quiet street,” Nelson said. “That’s really out of the ordinary.” Jenifer Gee can be reached at