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Man Held in Bludgeoning, Robbery of Couple : Crime: Victims rushed to hospital after being beaten with a tire iron while stranded with a flat tire on Coast Highway.

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TIMES STAFF WRITER

A La Mirada man was arrested on suspicion of bludgeoning and robbing a couple who were stranded with a flat tire on Pacific Coast Highway early Sunday, authorities said.

The couple, from the Montclair area, were rushed to UCI Medical Center in Orange, where they were treated for head and facial injuries from the beating with a tire iron, Huntington Beach Police Sgt. Luis Ochoa said.

According to Ochoa, the incident began about 2:10 a.m. on Pacific Coast Highway.

John Bejarano, 24, and Tracy Thompson, 20, were stopped just west of Golden West Street at the side of the road with a flat tire, he said. Two men approached, offering to help. But when Bejarano handed a tire iron to one of the men, the man hit Bejarano on the back of the head with the metal tool.

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Bejarano collapsed, unconscious, and the attacker the turned and hit Thompson on the face with the tire iron as she tried to get out of the car, Ochoa said.

While the attacker began to bash the car and smash its windows, Bejarano and Thompson came to and started to run. The man with the tire iron chased the couple down and began beating them again. Ochoa said the attacker grabbed Thompson’s purse, then fled with his male companion toward the beach.

“The female victim was able to get help from a passing motorist who called police,” Ochoa said.

About 20 minutes later, police and helicopter patrols found Eryn David Emken hiding in a car a short distance from the scene of the beating, Ochoa said.

Emken, 24, of La Mirada, was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and robbery. He was being held in lieu of $250,000 bail in the City Jail, Ochoa said. Thompson’s purse was not found.

A second man was with Emken at the time of his arrest. But since the injured couple had provided no description of the second suspect, the unidentified man was released, Ochoa said.

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A spokeswoman for the Medical Center said Bejarano was in fair condition Sunday afternoon. Thompson, who lives in Montclair, was treated and released.

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