Driver hits scooter rider during hours-long police chase in Southern California
A man is in custody after hitting a pedestrian on a scooter Thursday afternoon while leading police on a chase from Culver City to north San Diego County.
At 1:30 p.m., more than two hours after it began and after wending through Long Beach and Orange County, the suspect pulled over in the burgundy sedan he was driving on the right shoulder of the 5 Freeway, near the Las Pulgas Road off-ramp on Camp Pendleton. At least four police cruisers stopped to the rear, along with a motorcycle officer, some officers with guns drawn.
A K-9 was brought in.
For 40 minutes, the officers waited. Southbound traffic on the freeway came to a standstill and waited, too.Finally, the suspect opened his door, with officers and a K9 apprehending him. The suspect was struck twice – once in the face – with a beanbag shotgun and he was bitten by the K9 after failing to comply with officers commands to exit the vehicle, according to Officer Mark Latulippe of the California Highway Patrol.
He was transported to a hospital for treatment and the Los Angeles Police Department planned to take him into custody on suspicion of felony hit-and-run and felony evading, Latulippe said.
The man was identified by authorities as Karl Flores, 34, and Latulippe said officers were told he may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder from prior military service. His city of residence was not immediately available.
The chase started in Culver City about 10:50 a.m. when officers attempted to stop the 4-door Honda for a vehicle code violation, said Lt. Troy Dunlap of the Culver City Police Department.
Officers suspected the vehicle was possibly stolen when they attempted the stop at Sepulveda Boulevard and Washington Boulevard, Dunlap said.
“After being unable to confirm if the vehicle was in fact stolen, as well as the suspect’s erratic driving, the Culver City Police Department discontinued the pursuit due to public safety concerns,” Dunlap said.
Shortly after, Culver City officers were advised by Los Angeles police that the Honda had struck a pedestrian riding a motorized scooter in the 7800 block of Manchester Avenue, Dunlap said. LAPD took over the pursuit.
Margaret Stewart, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Fire Department, said firefighters transported a man to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
The man had been struck at about 11:15 a.m.
“He struck a motorist on a scooter and that became a felony hit-and-run,” said Norma Eisenman, a spokeswoman with the Los Angeles Police Department. “He failed to yield when we tried to pull him over.”
The impact of the collision caused damage to the suspect’s windshield.
The driver eventually entered the southbound I-405 near Ladera Heights and remained on the freeway through the South Bay and Long Beach and into Orange County.
Four PIT maneuvers, in which an officer bumps the suspect’s car in an attempt to get it to spin out, failed. The third attempt shattered the car’s rear window, while the fourth dislodged the rear bumper.
The California Highway Patrol also attempted multiple spike strips to aid in the termination of the pursuit on the freeway, but the exact number of attempts wasn’t immediately known, Latulippe said.
The CHP took the pursuit over from LAPD at about 12:10 p.m. just north of Carson, Latulippe said.