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article imageFormer NASCAR driver charged in attempted rape

By Kim I. Hartman     Jun 1, 2010 in Sports
San Clemente - James Neal, a former NASCAR driver who had just been sentenced on a misdemeanor felony evasion while driving recklessly, was arrested again just hours later for suspicion of attempted rape, burglary and false imprisonment in Orange County California.
Former NASCAR driver James Neal, who led police on a 140 mile-an-hour chase through San Diego County two weeks ago, was arrested Monday on rape charges just 4-1/2 hours after being released from his jail term.
James Neal, 56, of San Clemente, had left an Orange County jail at 1:30 a.m. Monday, and was arrested at the home of an acquaintance at 6 a.m., said sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino.
"He was released and went to the home of a 55-year-old woman whom he had met just one time before," Amormino said.
Deputies were sent to her apartment, in the 20700 block of El Toro Road in Lake Forest, at 6 a.m. when they got a report that a man and woman were fighting. "The woman said James Neal had attempted to rape her and would not leave," Amormino said.
"He is being charged with attempted rape and false imprisonment, and this was 4-1/2 hours after being released from jail," he said.
Neal complained of chest pains and was taken to Mission Hospital but later received a medical clearance and was transferred to the Orange County Jail where he will be held in lieu of $1 million bail, the spokesman said.
He will be charged with attempted rape, false imprisonment and burglary.
Earlier this month, deputies attempted to pull over Neal for not having a front license plate ---- a noncriminal "fix-it" infraction ---- in San Clemente. But the former racer roared off down Interstate 5 in his Chevrolet Corvette, reaching speeds of 140 mph across Camp Pendleton and North County.
Deputies and CHP officers gave up on the chase because of a danger to motorists. But the hapless driver was spotted on the side of the freeway with a blown engine, and arrested.
Neal pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of evading while driving recklessly, and served about two weeks until he was released this morning.
Neal competed in NASCAR in the early 1980s, but never won a national race
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