Former Atascadero mayor candidate’s lawyer ‘stunned’ by police chase, crash

Former Atascadero mayoral candidate Charles John Scovell II in a March 2015 booking photo.
Former Atascadero mayoral candidate Charles John Scovell II in a March 2015 booking photo.

Former Atascadero mayoral candidate Charles Scovell remained in critical condition Saturday after crashing his car following an alleged attempted robbery, an incident his attorney called “stunning.”

Scovell is accused of an attempted robbery in the drive-thru lane of a Paso Robles Heritage Oaks Bank on the 500 block of 12th Street about 2:20 p.m. Friday, according to a Paso Robles Police Department news release. When police arrived and attempted to pull him over, he led officers on a chase that ended after Scovell crashed his vehicle, which police said was stolen.

He was airlifted to Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo, where he remains in critical but stable condition in the hospital’s intensive care unit, hospital spokesman Ron Yukelson said Saturday.

Ilan Funke-Bilu, Scovell’s attorney, told The Tribune on Saturday he was “shocked” to hear of his client’s crash and the alleged attempted robbery on the news Friday night. Funke-Bilu said he hasn’t officially been retained, but he has been in contact with Scovell’s family.

“Right now, the last thing on our mind is the case and the legalities,” he said.

Scovell has been in and out of legal trouble since he lost the 2014 mayoral election to incumbent Tom O’Malley. His history includes a DUI hit-and-run incident in 2015 and a domestic violence standoff in January.

Most recently, Superior Court Judge Michael Duffy made an agreement with Scovell that allowed him to remain out of prison as long as he stayed out of trouble. Any further criminal activity would result in a sentence of up to 14 years.

Funke-Bilu said he’s aware of the deal that’s kept Scovell out of prison, but it would be tough to speculate about legal matters, given the current medical situation.

The attorney, who talked candidly about Scovell’s drug and alcohol problems in March, said the two had been in contact since his client last got out of jail. He said Scovell seemed to be “doing well by all accounts” and was sober, working as an arborist and spending time with family. Scovell’s posts on Facebook contained pictures of family activities, Funke-Bilu said.

“Surprised is too weak — stunned is more accurate,” he said of Scovell’s situation.

Lindsey Holden: 805-781-7939, @lindseyholden27

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