A bizarre two-hour chase that began in the Inland Empire ended in the Bell area Friday with two suspects taken into custody, but not before the pair tried to steal at least two other vehicles and jumped into the backseat of a woman’s car.
During the pursuit, the pair were also handed a bag and bottle by an unidentified man in the South Gate area. The driver also damaged multiple vehicles while trying to push his way through stopped traffic, even ripping the front bumper from the car of an unsuspecting motorist.
The chase started when the driver, in a dark-colored sedan, failed to yield for an equipment violation about 12:15 p.m. in the 100 block of East Foothill Boulevard in Upland, according to various media reports. The Upland Police Department could not immediately be reached for more information.
The driver fled on various freeways toward the Los Angeles area, at times hitting 100 mph. Once in the area, the chase bounced between freeways and streets, with the driver appearing to circle neighborhoods in the Norwalk and East Los Angeles areas.
The motorist and his male passenger appeared visibly agitated during much of the pursuit. At one point, the passenger opened the car door when the pair got stuck in traffic on a freeway offramp and appeared ready to flee, but he jumped back in the car when traffic began moving.
The driver subsequently pulled into a parking lot and drove up to a parked white pickup, then jumped out of the car and ran to the truck, but retreated when he found the truck was locked.
At other points in the chase, with the car boxed in stopped traffic, the driver aggressively bumped other vehicles in an effort to keep moving. At one intersection, he squeezed between two stopped vehicles, scraping the sides of both cars and tearing the front bumper from one of them.
Law enforcement units on the ground backed off the chase due to the suspect’s erratic driving. With no police or deputies on their tail, the pair came to a stop in the South Gate area, with the driver again trying to steal another vehicle — a white SUV — but again finding the vehicle’s doors locked.
At that point, an unidentified man jogged up to the suspect’s car and handed the driver what appeared to be a bag and a bottle, then casually walked away.
The suspects eventually got on the Long Beach (710) Freeway and drove into Commerce then the Bell area, where the driver pulled over, and both suspects jumped out of the vehicle. They ran up an embankment and began walking in traffic on East Florence Avenue, first trying to open the passenger door of a stopped big rig.
One of the suspects then approached another car and could be seen talking to the people inside. The pair then climbed into the backseat of the car. The female motorist behind the wheel drove the pair a short distance, but when the car came to a stop, they jumped out again and began running — into the waiting arms of police and sheriff’s deputies who had descended on the scene near Florence and Wilcox Avenue.
The female driver who picked up the pair did not appear to know the suspects, and it was not immediately clear if they threatened her or made up a story to persuade her to let them in her vehicle.
Authorities were seen speaking with the female driver, who appeared to be very shaken, and her male passenger.
Further information was not immediately available.
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