A man driving an allegedly stolen U-Haul box truck and towing a trailer was arrested early Tuesday after leading authorities on a two-hour chase through Orange and Los Angeles counties that ended with the truck in flames.
The man was taken into custody shortly before 7 a.m. after he exited the westbound Artesia (91) Freeway in Bellflower, stopped the vehicle and ran off — jumping some fences and walls before his arrest a short distance away.
Firefighters extinguished the flames, which had spread to the truck’s cab. The man’s name was not immediately available.
The chase began at about 5 a.m., when police went to Thelma and Knott avenues on a report of a suspicious truck parked at the location, according to Sgt. Mario Escamilla of the Buena Park Police Department.
Officers saw the parked U-Haul truck with someone apparently asleep in the driver’s seat, and they checked the license plates and learned that the vehicle had been reported stolen out of Irvine, Escamilla said.
As the officers were working to block in the vehicle, the driver suddenly began driving off, and the officers began chasing it, Escamilla said.
The truck entered a nearby freeway, and the chase was taken over by California Highway Patrol officers.
The truck eventually went onto the westbound Pomona (60) Freeway and onto the northbound Golden State (5) Freeway in East Los Angeles, and ended up going south on the San Gabriel River (605) Freeway in the Downey-Norwalk area at about 6 a.m.
A short time later, the truck was on the eastbound Riverside (91) Freeway, heading toward Orange County. Along the way, its front tires were damaged by a spike strip.
At about 6:25 a.m., the truck was slowly heading west on the 91 Freeway in the La Palma area, and flames were seen from the front tires.
The truck exited the freeway in the Bellflower area at about 6:45 a.m., when the driver stopped just north of the freeway and ran from the burning vehicle. After the man stopped, the flames spread to the truck’s cab before being extinguished.