Pursuit of stolen big rig ends in five-hour standoff on 55 Freeway in Santa Ana

The vehicle was reported stolen Wednesday night in Bell and stopped about 3 a.m.


A 22-year-old man was arrested Thursday after leading police on a multi-county pursuit in a stolen big rig that ended in a five-hour standoff on the 55 Freeway in Santa Ana.

The chase began around 8 p.m. Wednesday, after an 18-wheeler was reported stolen from the yard of an Individual FoodService warehouse in Bell, California Highway Patrol officials said.

The driver, identified by the CHP as Bryan Santana of Los Angeles, headed north on the 5 Freeway through the San Fernando Valley, then west on the 118 Freeway into Ventura County.

Authorities used multiple spike strips in attempts to stop the vehicle, but it withstood the damage and looped back into Los Angeles County.


The truck trundled along Southern California’s freeways with shredded wheels for nearly seven hours before it “became inoperable” and stopped on the 55 Freeway near MacArthur Boulevard in Santa Ana about 3 a.m., according to a CHP arrest report.

The driver then refused to come out of the cab and was surrounded by SWAT trucks in a standoff that lasted for more five hours, shutting down the freeway.

At one point, Irvine police officers used drones to peer into the interior of the cab. Santa Ana officers tried to communicate with the driver.

Video posted by KCBS-TV shows that the driver eventually surrendered to police and was arrested around 8:40 a.m. Thursday.

He was booked on suspicion of vehicle theft and fleeing a peace officer while driving with “willful or wanton disregard” for the safety of others.