LOCAL : Man Arrested After Car Thefts and Attack on Ex-Wife, 2 Others

From Times Staff and wire service reports

A Canoga Park man on probation for spousal battery was arrested this morning after he allegedly chased his ex-wife's car through rush-hour traffic, crashed into it, attacked her and then assaulted two men, Los Angeles police said.

Police identified the man as 41-year-old Benjamin Reyes, who was arrested early this morning in San Diego. They said he will be charged with attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and auto theft.

Reyes' ex-wife, Maria, 38, was treated for cuts and bruises while the two other victims were in critical but stable condition at Northridge Hospital Medical Center, police said.

Detective Michael Brandt said the incident began about 4:50 p.m. Monday when Reyes, who was driving a stolen car, rammed into his former wife's car as she drove north on Winnetka Avenue near Roscoe Boulevard in Canoga Park. She managed to drive away but Reyes continued to chase her, forcing her to hit a fire hydrant and another car before she stopped on Winnetka at Parthenia Street, Brandt said.

Brandt said Reyes ran to his ex-wife's car, pulled her out and began kicking and beating her. Passers-by ran to the woman's aid and pulled him away from her. But Reyes broke free and ran to the 20200 block of Londelius Street where he stole another car, Brandt said. Janson Chan, 30, owner of the car, and Minh Tich, also about 30, were seriously injured when they attempted to stop the theft, Brandt said.

Reyes was arrested after midnight when the stolen car was spotted in San Diego.

Brandt said the attacks were motivated by an ongoing dispute related to the couple's divorce two months ago.

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