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2 Die as Car Fleeing Deputies Hits Auto

<i> From a Times Staff Writer</i>

Two people were killed early Saturday when a car being pursued by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies crossed a center divider on Pacific Coast Highway and collided head-on with another vehicle, authorities said.

The accident near Topanga Canyon Boulevard killed Jacqueline Swope, 51, of Downey, a passenger in the car struck by the fleeing Toyota Celica, and killed a 20-year-old passenger in the Celica, a California Highway Patrol spokesman said. The passenger in the Celica was not identified.

Sheriff’s deputies arrested the 23-year-old driver of the Celica on suspicion of drunk driving and two counts of second-degree murder. He was taken to Santa Monica Hospital for treatment of head injuries. His name was not released.

The brief chase began at 5:30 a.m. near Las Tunas Beach, said Sheriff’s Deputy Mary Landreth. The driver of the Celica accelerated to nearly 80 m.p.h. when deputies tried to pull him over for driving without having the headlights on, Landreth said.

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After the crash, the driver tried to flee, Landreth said. A loaded gun was found in the trunk, he added.

The accident closed Pacific Coast Highway for nearly four hours.


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