Criminal charges were filed Wednesday against a man accused of leading officers on a televised high-speed chase Monday from Northridge to Quartz Hill, where he surrendered after a standoff that lasted more than a half-hour.
Sean Christopher Druschel, 33, pleaded not guilty to one felony count each of fleeing a pursuing peace officer’s motor vehicle while driving recklessly and fleeing a pursuing officer’s motor vehicle and driving against traffic, along with two felony counts each of assault upon a peace officer or firefighter and assault with a deadly weapon.
He is also charged with one misdemeanor count each of driving under the influence of a drug and driving when privilege is suspended or revoked, and two misdemeanor counts of hit-and-run driving resulting in property damage.
The chase began shortly after 5 p.m. Monday when police tried to stop the driver of the Ford F-150 pickup truck for reckless driving. He allegedly tried to ram a police car, then got onto the Ronald Reagan (118) Freeway near Chatsworth, going west toward Simi Valley.
California Highway Patrol and Los Angeles Police Department helicopters tracked the truck as it reached reported speeds of 135 mph on the northbound Golden State (5) and Antelope Valley (14) freeways.
A female passenger who was let out of the vehicle in a gated community in the Quartz Hill area was detained for questioning but was viewed as a witness, rather than a suspect.
Soon after dropping off his passenger, the suspect’s truck collided with a car and came to a halt near the intersection of Avenue 25 and Rancho Vista Boulevard. Broadcast footage showed smoke coming from the cab of the truck as authorities waited for the suspect to surrender, which he did around 7 p.m.
Druschel was ordered to be held in lieu of $290,000 bail while awaiting a March 9 hearing in Lancaster to determine if there is enough evidence to require him to proceed to trial.
— City News Service
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