12 hours after wild police pursuit and standoff, northbound I-5 reopens in Burbank

san fernando valley pursuit
Friday night’s car chase turned into a standoff near the Buena Vista exit of the 5 Freeday.

All northbound lanes of the 5 Freeway in Burbank were reopened Saturday more than 12 hours after a motorist led police on a wild pursuit that ended with a standoff and the arrest of the driver.

The man was taken into custody shortly after 10 p.m. Friday after hitting several vehicles while driving the wrong way on the freeway, authorities said.

The pursuit began about 7:30 p.m. and turned into a standoff near the Buena Vista Street exit, shutting down both sides of the freeway for hours as police worked to calm and negotiate with the driver, who had barricaded himself in the car with a knife, said Officer Rosario Cervantes with the Los Angeles Police Department.

Just after midnight, the CHP confirmed the southbound lanes of the freeway had reopened.


At some point during the standoff, the man stumbled out of his car and was hit by what appeared to be rubber bullets. He lay on the ground, squirming and moving erratically, before a group of officers surrounded him and pinned him down.

He was taken to a hospital by paramedics. His condition was not immediately available.

The northbound lanes of the 5 Freeway between Alameda Avenue and Buena Vista Street were reopened about 10:15 a.m. Saturday.

KABC-TV Channel 7 reported that blood was seen “running down” the driver’s-side door. Cervantes said she could not confirm whether authorities had opened fire. The suspect also had a knife, which he appeared to be waving out the car window in video from news helicopters overhead.


The suspect could be seen moving inside the vehicle as hundreds of vehicles were stranded, some just a few feet from the scene of the standoff.

The chase began near Big Tujunga Canyon Road and Oro Vista Avenue in Sunland-Tujunga following reports of a reckless driver.

It ended in a head-on collision after the driver entered the 5 Freeway going in the wrong direction. During the pursuit, he was erratic, swerving on surface streets and ramming into vehicles, including at least one police car.

Authorities said it was not clear what led to the chase.

Traffic was jammed throughout the area as officers directed vehicles caught on the freeway onto surrounding streets. The freeway remained completely closed until midnight, when the southbound side reopened.



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