A man who led police on a wild chase in a van through South Los Angeles this week, at one point striking and severely injuring a small dog named Gordo, pleaded guilty Friday to a pair of felonies and a misdemeanor and was immediately sentenced to two years in prison.

Yovani Rodriguez, 21, of Los Angeles, pleaded guilty to one felony count each of fleeing a pursuing peace officer’s motor vehicle while driving recklessly and driving or taking a vehicle without consent, along with one misdemeanor count of hit-and-run driving resulting in property damage, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

He was arrested Wednesday night after a televised chase in which he drove a Chevrolet Astro van at speeds estimated as high as 100 mph, veered across lanes and drove on the wrong side of the road. A California Highway Patrol PIT maneuver finally brought the van to a stop at the corner of Manchester and Wadsworth avenues after an unsuccessful prior PIT maneuver and the van going over a spike strip, authorities said.

The chase began about 8 p.m. Wednesday in the area of 77th Place and Central Avenue on the border of South Los Angeles and the unincorporated Florence-Firestone area when Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies tried to stop the van, which authorities said had been reported stolen.

The small white dog — which was struck during the chase — was taken to an animal hospital, with his injury earning the case national attention and donations reportedly coming in from across the country to help pay for his medical treatment. Gordo underwent emergency surgery Thursday at a Culver City animal hospital that saved him from having a leg amputated.

“The fact that he didn’t bleed out from this trauma is incredibly lucky,” said Kim Carey, one of two surgeons who treated the dog.

“We believe the car — which was running on rims — one of the rims may have actually sliced through the back part of his thigh just adjacent to his colon,” Carey said.

Rodriguez’s passenger, Gwendi Valenton, 26, of Bakersfield, also was arrested after the chase, but the District Attorney’s Office declined to file a case against her.

City News Service

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