Mustang car chase suspects charged with burglary and hit-and-run

Herschel Reynolds, 20, the driver in Thursday's televised car chase through Hollywood, was a trained tactical vehicle driver for the U.S. Marine Corps before being “prematurely discharged” in January.

Herschel Reynolds, 20, the driver in Thursday’s televised car chase through Hollywood, was a trained tactical vehicle driver for the U.S. Marine Corps before being “prematurely discharged” in January.

(Reed Saxon / Associated Press)

Two men who led authorities in a pursuit across L.A. County last week were charged Monday with four felonies, including residential burglary.

Herschel Reynolds, 20, and Isaiah Young, 19, each face two counts of hit-and-run driving resulting in property damage and one count each of first-degree residential burglary and fleeing a pursuing peace officer’s vehicle while driving recklessly. They face six to eight years in prison if convicted on all the charges.

Young pleaded not guilty in a Bellflower courtroom Monday and is set to return to court April 18. Reynolds, who drove the rented Mustang, was a former U.S. Marine motor operator specially trained in driving. He was released early Monday in lieu of $50,000 bail and is due in court May 10. Young is being held on $80,000 bond.


Prosecutors said Monday that the two-hour pursuit Thursday began when a woman drove up to her Cerritos home and saw an unknown car in her driveway. The woman sounded her horn and the vehicle in the driveway pulled out and sped away.

When the woman went inside her home, the back door was smashed and there were items missing, prosecutors said.

L.A. County sheriff’s investigators say jewelry was among the items taken in the break-in.

Reynolds, the driver, both horrified and delighted Angelenos during the televised chase that included a close call with a TMZ tour bus and ended with a hero’s welcome in a South L.A. neighborhood--with celebratory high-fives, hugs and selfies with a swelling crowd. The pair peacefully surrendered after parking the Mustang.

Reynolds and Young were taken into custody near the intersection of South Central Avenue and East 51st Street.

Both men grew up in the neighborhood and stopped in front of their homes, residents said. Friends and neighbors emerged to greet them.

Authorities say the burglars fled the Cerritos home before deputies arrived. Within minutes, personnel in a sheriff’s helicopter spotted the car on the westbound 91 Freeway.


Authorities said roads were too wet and the Mustang was weaving through traffic too dangerously for sheriff’s deputies to follow it, so they relied on a helicopter to monitor the vehicle.

When the Mustang reached the interchange of the 110 and 101 freeways in downtown L.A., the California Highway Patrol took up the chase. The Mustang got off at Hollywood Boulevard. By that time it had already rear-ended one vehicle.

In Hollywood, with no police behind them, the driver began doing doughnuts in the middle of the street, spinning across all lanes of traffic and forcing other cars to stop. The car then drove west, where countless tourists got to see the Mustang drive against traffic outside the TCL Chinese Theatre and Hollywood Walk of Fame.

From there, the Mustang drove into the Hollywood Hills, going into opposing traffic lanes around blind curves, narrowly missing oncoming traffic and fishtailing on rain-slicked roads.

Without any vehicles close behind, the driver drove back through Hollywood’s tourist district and onto the freeway, where it was almost trapped by a TMZ tour bus that cut off its path as it tried to split two lanes.

Twitter: @josephserna, @LAcrimes



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