Driver in custody after ditching stolen van, getting into another vehicle in downtown Los Angeles area

National

A driver involved in a pursuit was taken into custody after ditching a stolen van in the Alhambra and downtown Los Angeles area and jumping into a secondary vehicle as a passenger during a bizarre chase that lasted nearly two hours on Friday.

The pursuit began at 9:12 a.m. in the area of Main Street and Fremont in Alhambra, the Alhambra Police Department reported. As of 9:50 a.m., the van was on the 101 Freeway in the downtown Los Angeles area.

A man and a woman were inside the van, Alhambra police said. It appeared the woman was behind the wheel, the aerial video showed.

Aerial video from Sky5 showed the pursuit driver traveling at high rates of speed on surface streets and freeways, and was also going straight through traffic lights without stopping. The driver was also unsafely weaving in and out of traffic.

At about 10:10 a.m., the driver stopped the van in the area of Sheffield Avenue and Norwich Avenue. The driver took something out of the van and placed it on a nearby lawn. Moments later, units from the Alhambra Police Department attempted to box the van in, but the driver fled again.

At about 10:24 a.m., a black car appeared to block an intersection where the stolen van was approaching. The van passed the black car, which then made a U-turn and then sped up alongside the van. It’s unclear who was driving the black car.

The van made its way to an industrial parking lot in the area of North Myers Street and Kearney Street in Boyle Heights and was circling around before continuing on to nearby surface streets.

Later, the vehicle slowed down and the passenger appeared to hand out something — possibly food — to someone holding a sign at a street corner, the aerial video showed.

Soon after that, someone got out of a car behind the van, approached the vehicle and appeared to give the driver a fist bump.

Shortly before 11 a.m., the driver ditched the van on a street in the El Sereno area and got into what appeared to be a Mini Cooper as a passenger. The Mini then continued on driving around the neighborhood.

About 10 minutes later, the vehicle stopped in a residential area and police took the van driver into custody, according to Sky5 footage.

Officers could also be seen apparently detaining the Mini driver.

The Los Angeles Police Department and the California Highway Patrol also assisted with the pursuit, but both agencies backed off at various points.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

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April 24 2021 08:00 am

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