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LOCAL : 4 Held When Van Crashes After Pursuit, Spilling PCP Chemicals

From Times Staff and Wire Service Reports

Four men are being held today on $2-million bail each after two of the suspects led sheriff’s deputies on a high-speed chase from Castaic to South-Central Los Angeles, ending when their van crashed, spilling toxic chemicals that could be used to manufacture PCP.

The two men in the van, which slammed into a tree after careening off the Harbor Freeway at the Slauson Avenue off-ramp, refused to give their names, said Sheriff’s Deputy Bill Linnemeyer. Two other men in another car who were arrested at the start of the chase were identified as Edward Dickerson 29, of Rialto and Ernest Ricks, 20, of El Segundo.

All four are being held on suspicion of possession of PCP for sale at the sheriff’s Santa Clarita station.

Linnemeyer said possession of chemicals to make the drug even without a finished product is cause enough to book a suspect for possession of the drug for sale.

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The pursuit, which reached speeds of up to 85 m.p.h., went from the Golden State Freeway and then southbound on the Harbor Freeway. As the van was leaving on the Slauson Avenue off-ramp, the driver apparently lost control, struck a guardrail and went over an embankment before slamming into a tree.

Two 55-gallon drums containing what deputies said were chemicals used in the manufacture of phencyclidine, commonly known as PCP, were found in the van. The off-ramp was closed for several hours before reopening this morning as a precaution after a mist was seen coming from one of the containers.

No one was injured in the crash, deputies said.


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