WINNEMUCCA —The man accused of leading law enforcement on a high-speed pursuit from Grass Valley to downtown was sentenced on Monday (Oct. 10) in 6th Judicial District Court.
Mark Tucker Sharp, 24, was given the maximum sentence of 28-72 months in prison on the charge of felony eluding police in a manner posing danger, a category B felony. He had no credit for time served.
Louie Landa (shown above right), formerly with the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, told the court incidents began on April 2 when he observed Sharp driving in the subdivision near the airport and attempted to pull him over.
At that time, Sharp had a felony arrest warrant charging arson.
Sharp sped away from the potential traffic stop – at speeds sometimes reaching 100 mph.
Landa discontinued the pursuit at the city limits for fear a member of the public could be injured.
Sharp knew there was a warrant for his arrest because, he said, Sheriff Ed Kilgore and another man went to his father’s house looking for him. Deputy Kathy Green went to the workplace of a friend of Sharp’s and left her number so he could call and make arrangements to turn himself in.
However, Sharp said he was advised by his father to be careful because the cops were going to kill him – and that’s why he fled.
He reminded the court the person who shot and killed his younger brother “basically walked”.
He also pointed out he could have taken any number of routes when he fled, but he fled to town and went to the courthouse, but there were no other cops at the courthouse.
So, he went to the house of Sgt. Mike Smock, of the HCSO, because he thought “they’d be crazy to shoot me in front of Smock.”
Sharp ditched his car in front of Smock’s house. He was in Reno the next day. His older brother learned where he was and called law enforcement, who picked the younger Sharp up without incident.
Sharp apologized to Officer Jeff Lynn, of the Winnemucca Police Department, who was off duty during the pursuit, on his motorcycle, and who had a very close encounter with the speeding vehicle driven by Sharp.
Sharp said Lynn was one of the few cops in town who always gave him a fair shake. He added he previously apologized to Lynn and his wife for ever putting him in any danger.
Sharp’s attorney, Public Defender Matt Stermitz, asked for the minimum sentence of 19-48 months in prison. He disputed seeing anything in the video of the pursuit, taken from Landa’s dashcam, that caused him to believe the pursuit put anyone in danger.
Deputy DA Roger Whomes asked for the maximum sentence.
He called Sharp’s fear of being shot by the police a fabrication and an outlandish story. He said, “(Sharp) didn’t want to stop because he didn’t want to go to jail.”
Referencing Sharp’s criminal history, which included a previous prison term for drug trafficking, he described Sharp as someone who fails to conform to social norms, who’s aggressive, has a reckless disregard for the safety of himself and others, who doesn’t work, and who rationalizes everything he does.
Whomes said he did sympathize with the defendant because he probably had a rough upbringing and because he had lingering issues over the murder of his younger brother.
Whomes went on to say while he had sympathy for the defendant, the community needed to be protected from Sharp. And, to a certain extent, Sharp needed to be protected from himself.
He said, “When Mr. Sharp is incarcerated he can’t get hurt and can’t do these things that are extremely dangerous to himself and others.”
He concluded by expressing his hope the defendant received help for drug addiction and mental health issues while incarcerated.
Sharp remains in custody at the Humboldt County Detention Center pending another sentencing on charges of drug trafficking and being an ex-felon in possession of a firearm.