Authorities Thursday recovered a black Lincoln Navigator hearse with a casket and body inside that was stolen near a church in an unincorporated area between Arcadia and Pasadena, and a suspect was taken into custody after the vehicle crashed on a freeway in the south Los Angeles area during a chase.
James Juarez, 25, allegedly stole the hearse about 8:05 p.m. Wednesday from the 700 block of Rosemead Boulevard, near St. Anthony Greek Orthodox Church, according to Officer J. Chaves of the Los Angeles Police Department and Deputy Juanita Navarro-Suarez of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau.
About 7:35 a.m. Thursday, someone saw the Navigator and notified authorities, and Los Angeles Police Department officers began chasing it near 23rd and Figueroa streets, the LAPD reported.
The chase went onto the nearby southbound Harbor (110) Freeway, and the Navigator crashed about 7:50 a.m. near Vernon Avenue, the LAPD reported. At least one other vehicle was involved in the crash, and one person was taken to a hospital for treatment of unspecified injuries, according to reports from the scene.
The casket and body were inside the SUV, and the Juarez was taken into custody, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
NBC4 reported that the keys to the Navigator were left in the ignition when it was stolen and the body was that of a woman.
“Out of all the bad decisions you have made, at least make one good one & bring back the deceased person & casket inside the Navigator,” the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department tweeted Wednesday night.