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NASCAR driver arrested on rape charge in OC

June 1, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
A former NASCAR driver, arrested in May for leading Orange County deputies on a high-speed chase, has been arrested on suspicion of attempted rape.James Edward Neal, 56, of San Clemente, was released from an Orange County jail Monday morning, only to be arrested five hours later at the home of a 55-year-old acquaintance.

Deputies were sent to the woman's apartment on the 20700 block of El Toro Road in Lake Forest following a report of a man and woman fighting. Deputies say the woman told them Neal had attempted to rape her and would not leave.

Last month, deputies tried to stop Neal for not having a front license plate in San Clemente, but Neal led them on a high-speed chase down Interstate 5 in his Chevrolet Corvette. He was later arrested. Neal pleaded guilty to misdemeanor evading while driving recklessly and served about two weeks until he was released early Monday.

Neal competed in NASCAR in the early 1980s but never won a national race. He is currently being held in Central Men's Jail in Santa Ana with bail set at $1 million.

The AP contributed to this report.

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