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Driver leads police on wild chase onto Van Nuys Airport runway

Van Nuys Airport
(Los Angeles Times)
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A person trying to evade police drove onto the runway of Van Nuys Airport on Friday morning as aircraft were preparing to take off and land nearby, authorities said.

With media helicopters chronicling the pursuit, the driver zigzagged across the runway of the small airport, which shut down during the incident.

As airport police officers in two black-and-white SUVs repeatedly tried to use PIT maneuvers — pursuit intervention techniques that knock the vehicle into a spin — the driver swerved along the tarmac before heading into a grassy area, then returning to the runway.

At one point, the driver skimmed by the airport hangar and sped past several parked executive jets. Video showed the driver’s hands raised through the sunroof as the dark-colored vehicle continued to evade patrol cars.

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The pursuit lasted for at least 20 minutes, before the driver crashed through a perimeter fence and was apprehended, police said. The suspect’s identity was not released.

Los Angeles World Airports, which oversees the airport, is investigating the incident, and a spokesman said a statement would be provided later.