Three suspects who led police on an almost 70-mile highway chase through two counties were turned over to the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service on Wednesday after they were captured in San Clemente, authorities said.
The three suspects, riding in a car that police said had been stolen Tuesday in Chula Vista, were identified as undocumented aliens from Mexico, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Rodolfo Lopez, 19, who was driving the 1982 silver Toyota Tercel, stopped near the Avenida Pico exit off the southbound Interstate 5, jumped out of the car and ran across the freeway heading east on Avenida Pico, CHP Sgt. Mike Johnson said. Lopez was tracked by a police helicopter assisting in the pursuit and was captured about 5 minutes later in a brushy area off the street, Johnson said.
“We don’t know why he stopped. The car was still running,” Johnson said. “Maybe he just figured it was a good place to get out and run.”
Passengers Jorge Sandoval, 26, and Adan Torres, 19, were taken into custody from the car at 5:55 a.m., 45 minutes after the chase began at 7th and Mateo streets in downtown Los Angeles. Los Angeles police began the chase at speeds exceeding 90 m.p.h., with CHP officers taking over when the vehicle entered Orange County.