Suspects Elude Officers After Freeway Is Closed

Two suspected burglars being chased by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies escaped Friday over an embankment of the Simi Valley Freeway, which was closed in both directions for 15 minutes while officers searched the area.

The closure in the Porter Ranch area caused massive traffic backups in both directions, the California Highway Patrol reported. Frustrated motorists made U-turns in the center divider, drove on the freeway shoulder and used on-ramps to exit, CHP Officer Randy Pickens said.

The freeway was shut down from 12:15 to 12:30 p.m., he said.

Sheriff’s Sgt. Greg Palmieri said the chase began when deputies saw a car matching the description of a vehicle used in a burglary in Porter Ranch. The deputies followed the car into a residential area, and the two men got out and ran when they saw the deputies, Palmieri said.

The deputies, with guns drawn, ordered the men to stop, but one of them turned and said “Go ahead, shoot me,” and continued running, according to Palmieri. Deputies then chased the suspects on foot, but the two got away after jumping a fence next to the freeway, near Etiwanda Avenue.

Inside the suspects’ Pontiac convertible, deputies found stereo equipment and jewelry that had been stolen from a Porter Ranch house, Palmieri said.