Woman drives stolen U-Haul into downtown produce market and rams a police car along the way

A woman driving a stolen U-Haul truck led police on a wild chase through downtown Los Angeles on Thursday and appeared to be singing or talking to herself as she swerved through traffic and ultimately plowed into vegetable crates and a police cruiser inside a pedestrian produce market.

The pursuit, which was broadcast live via helicopter, began just before 10 a.m. near 61st Street and Broadway in South L.A., police said.

For roughly 30 minutes, the driver threaded the big box-like truck through stoplights and heavy traffic, and clipped at least one vehicle as she gunned the truck into oncoming traffic at high speed.

She led police north into downtown’s Fashion District, where the truck barreled down narrow alleyways and barely missed hitting pedestrians and workers.

The driver then swerved into downtown’s massive open-air produce market at South Central Avenue and 7th Street. After slamming into crates of vegetables and causing workers and shoppers to back away, the driver appeared to have gotten trapped as police cruisers pulled up to box her in. However, after making about a half-dozen moves, she turned the U-Haul around and headed out of the market.

On its way out of the market, the U-Haul rammed the front of a police SUV, causing an officer to get out and point his weapon at the cab of the truck. The officer fired, but missed hitting the driver, officials said.

The woman drove out of the market, only to return moments later. After crashing into more boxes of produce, she stopped, jumped out of the cab and ran, but was quickly apprehended by officers.

The driver, who still appeared to be shouting, resisted officers as they attempted to place her in a cruiser. Video showed police putting a “spit sock” around her mouth and restraints on her hands and legs.

“She was not having a good day,” said Officer Drake Madison.

joseph.serna@latimes.com

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UPDATES:

1:30 p.m.: This article was updated with confirmation that an officer fired a weapon at the vehicle.

This article was originally published at 11:45 a.m.

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