Suspect in stolen taxi pursuit could face carjacking, other charges

LAPD: Friday's chase through South LA was the second time that armored vehicles used to perform PIT maneuver

A man accused of stealing a lime-green taxi and leading police on a two-hour pursuit through Inglewood and South Los Angeles could face several charges, police said Monday.

Derrick Bogar, 36, was arrested Friday afternoon when an armored SWAT vehicle performed a "pursuit intervention technique" -- or PIT maneuver -- and stopped the taxi at 103rd and Alameda streets in Watts, Los Angeles police said.

It was only the second time the department had used its armored vehicles to perform a PIT maneuver, police officials said Monday.

Bogar was arrested on suspicion of carjacking but could face other charges such as reckless driving and evading police, said Lt. Louis Paglialonga, who is investigating the incident. Paglialonga said part of the ongoing investigation would include a review of the television footage that captured the chase.

Online jail records showed Bogar was scheduled to appear in court Tuesday.

Friday's chase began about 1:25 p.m. in the 5000 block of Cimarron Street, where police allege Bogar stole the taxi at gunpoint. Television footage showed the taxi driving across surface streets at relatively slow speeds, running red lights and occasionally pulling up to bystanders.

Capt. Ed Prokop, who oversees LAPD's Metropolitan Division, estimated there were "dozens, if not hundreds" of bystanders who put themselves in contact with the armed suspect. That, he said, factored into the decision to deploy the armored SUVs to end the chase and take the man into custody.

The chase ended about 3:30 p.m. when one of the specialized vehicles -- a Ford Excursion -- tapped the taxi's rear driver's side, spinning it toward the corner of the intersection. Another Excursion and an LAPD "BearCat" -- a black armored vehicle -- then pinned the taxi, preventing the vehicle from driving off.

As officers piled out of the vehicles with their guns drawn, Bogar surrendered. Paglialonga said a pistol was recovered from the stolen vehicle.

LAPD officers are trained to consider several factors when deciding where to perform a PIT maneuver, including the speed of the suspect vehicle, road conditions and whether any civilians are nearby. Television footage of Friday's chase showed two civilian vehicles were near the stolen taxi when police moved in.

Prokop stressed the PIT maneuver had the proper department approval, but said that, as with all pursuits, it would be reviewed. The administrative investigation, he said, will look at the circumstances that led to the pursuit, the use of the PIT maneuver and "obviously the location."

"Every vehicle pursuit is investigated, and obviously this is no different," Prokop said. "All of that will be assessed."

Prokop said the SWAT response was requested by Cmdr. Phil Tingirides, the assisting commanding officer of LAPD's South Bureau. Prokop said officials took into account the report of a weapon, potential risk to the public and the fact that the pursuit had been going on "for quite some time."

"This is not something that we deploy on a whim," Prokop said.

Officer Howard Ng was driving the SUV that performed the PIT maneuver and ultimately ended the chase. He acknowledged that officers talked about the "what ifs" as they drove to the scene, but said he was relieved that the suspect was arrested without anyone getting hurt.

Ng downplayed the incident, saying it was a situation that he and his fellow officers had trained for.

"As far as I'm concerned, it's just another police pursuit that was stopped by a PIT maneuver," Ng said. "We went out and had something to eat afterwards, and went back to work."

Follow @katemather for more LAPD news.

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times
68°