It isn’t often that a law enforcement vehicle gets stolen during an arrest, but that’s just what happened during a pursuit in Antelope Valley on Tuesday.
KTLA reports that in the process of a suspected DUI driver, an officer with the California Highway Patrol (CHP) had his vehicle stolen by the suspect before he ran the cruiser off the road in the high desert.
The pursuit began just after 5:00 p.m. in Palmdale where deputies from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department attempted to pull over the driver of a Kia Optima they suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol. The driver attempted to elude law enforcement officers by taking off at high speed down the 14 Freeway, and Sheriff’s deputies called off the pursuit due to safety concerns.
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The pursuit was reinitiated a short time later and proceeded from Los Angeles County and across the Los Angeles / Kern County line. According to Deputy Juanita Navarro-Suarez of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Information Bureau, shortly after crossing into Kern County, the suspect driver came to a halt and took control of a Toyota Tacoma pickup truck. The suspect continued into the desert, both on and off the road, and struck the vehicles of pursuing officers several times.
Eventually, the driver crashed the Toyota pickup and got out of the vehicle along with a woman who hugged him before the suspect continued his flight from law officers.
During his flight, he managed to steal an unoccupied CHP cruiser, taking off toward a dirt road and sometimes going off-road. Law enforcement officers were finally able to corner the suspect and place him under arrest.
The woman who had been with him during the incident was found hiding in the desert and was also placed under arrest.
So far, the identity of the suspect driver and his accomplice has not been released. Possible charges are expected to include DUI, felony evasion, theft of a police vehicle and assaulting a law enforcement officer.