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California

Driver arrested after striking scooter rider and repeated escapes during wild, three-county chase

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A man suspected of assault with a deadly weapon leads police on a chase on the 405 Freeway on Thursday.
(KTLA-TV)

A fleeing driver led police on a wild chase through Los Angeles and Orange counties Thursday, crashing into a man riding a scooter and avoiding multiple attempts to stop his vehicle before finally being taken into custody near Camp Pendleton in San Diego County, nearly two hours after the pursuit began.

The man pulled over along the shoulder of the southbound 5 Freeway about 1:30 p.m. south of San Clemente. Officers stopped traffic and eventually rushed the car with a police dog to apprehend the driver.

During the pursuit, the man managed to escape four so-called PIT maneuvers by police — a tactic meant to cause a fleeing car to spin out and stop — that shattered the car’s rear window and tore off the back bumper.

Culver City police began the pursuit of the driver, who was suspected of assault with a deadly weapon, around 11 a.m. His car, a red Honda Civic, was traveling at slow to normal speeds before it struck a man riding a scooter in the 7800 block of West Manchester Avenue in Playa del Rey about 11:30. The man who was hit was taken to a hospital with injuries that did not appear to be life-threatening, fire officials said. Meanwhile, the chase continued.

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A police cruiser first attempted a PIT maneuver that sent the Honda spinning on La Tijera Boulevard in Westchester. The driver paused for a moment before continuing to flee. A second attempt also failed. After the third PIT maneuver, the driver was partially boxed in by police cruisers. Officers exited their vehicles intending to take the driver into custody, but he took off again. Authorities’ fourth attempt to stop the vehicle caused the car’s bumper to fly off and blew out the rear window. The driver again fled on surface streets, this time at high speed.

The car, which also had a smashed front window, wound its way through several cities in Los Angeles before entering the southbound 405 Freeway and heading to Orange County. The California Highway Patrol prepared to deploy a spike strip on the 405 Freeway in Orange County but decided against it because of construction in the area.

Authorities said the driver, who has not been publicly identified, is on probation and is possibly an Army veteran who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

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hannah.fry@latimes.com

Twitter: @Hannahnfry

javier.panzar@latimes.com

Twitter: @jpanzar


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