Early morning high-speed chase ends in freeway crash

Two burglars wound up in the hospital Wednesday morning after allegedly breaking into a car in Burbank and initiating a high-speed chase that ended with the stolen vehicle crashing on a freeway off-ramp.

The Burbank Police Department responded to a possible vehicle burglary in progress on the 600 block of North Frederic Street around 5:30 a.m. when an officer spotted a Volkswagon Jetta in the neighborhood driving on the wrong side of the street with no lights on, said Lt. John Dilibert.

A Burbank police officer tried to pull the car over, thinking it could be a drunk driver or the culprit behind the break-in, but the driver sped up to 60 miles per hour, initiating a high-speed chase.

The officer followed the speeding car onto the eastbound Ventura (134) Freeway at Buena Vista Street. When the driver accelerated far beyond the speed limit, the officer pulled back and returned to Burbank in the interest of safety, Dilibert said.

"You don't want to hit someone on Christmas," he said.

But the Jetta didn't get far. As the driver exited the freeway at Forest Lawn Drive, he crashed on the off-ramp, totaling the car, Dilibert said.

"It was over pretty quick," he added.

Authorities found two 20-year-old men were in the crashed car,  Anthony Garay and Javier Hernandez. Both were taken to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center for treatment. In addition to nabbing a third-row seat from a truck on Frederic Street, police officials suspect the two Los Angeles residents also stole the Jetta and other items found in the destroyed car.

Grand theft auto and auto burglary charges are pending until the two men are released from the hospital, Dilibert said.