18-year-old Christopher Sean France was no doubt nervous as he drove through Willits with 23-year-old Amanda Grace Jewell. It was 2 am early Sunday, after the pair had likely spent time in the Sherwood Valley Casino Saturday night, May 2. As France drove his tan Ford pickup on Meadowbrook Drive away from the Casino, according to a Mendocino Sheriff’s Office press release, a patrol car pulled in behind them.
The deputies first noticed that the rear license plate was lacking any registration tags. The reason for that turned out to be that the plate was actually a front plate stolen from another vehicle, likely to try to cover up the fact that the truck itself had been stolen out of Santa Rosa. Whether France himself was the thief of the truck and plate himself, he likely knew they were stolen, and he definitely knew his own drivers license had been suspended. When he saw the Sheriff’s patrol car behind him, he quickly pulled into a driveway, forgetting to signal, and perhaps pretending he was home in hopes that the squad car would simply go on their way.
But the deputies had seen enough to at least stop and check them out. A brief chat with France and Jewell convinced the deputies that they had no business at the home they had pulled into. They also learned then about France’s lack of a valid license, and observed that Jewell was showing signs of intoxication. One of them admitted that she had been smoking methamphetamine.
With probable cause, the deputies conducted a search of the pickup, and found a great deal more. Two dagger blades and a machete were located, along with the meth pipe. The driver’s side door panel contained rubber gloves, and a long chain of keys, which consisted of residential, padlock, and a variety of car keys. They also learned, through a records check, that the license and vehicle were both stolen. Jewell was also confirmed to be under the influence of meth via a field check.
Both of the young suspects had been in trouble before, according to available records. France had been arrested on January 2 by the Coyote Valley Reservation Police for carrying an illegal weapon, such as a blackjack or billy club.
Amanda Jewell has been arrested twice on charges of domestic battery, likely against her husband Clint, though the Sheriff’s Office does not release victim information. The first incident was on November 20 of 2013, when she was charged with a count of battery, and of inflicting corporal injury on a spouse or co-habitant. The second incident, on March 22 of this year, resulted in the charge of battery on a spouse or co-habitant. The couple reportedly have one child, and a custody hearing is scheduled for May 27, according to Mendocino County Court records.
In this latest incident, Christopher France was arrested and charged with possession of a stolen vehicle, burglary tools, drug paraphernalia, and an illegal dirk or dagger. He was booked and held at the Mendocino County jail on $15,000 bail. Amanda Jewell was charged with being under the influence of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, and destroying evidence. She was released on a promise to appear in court.