Driver Taken Into Custody Hours After Pursuit Ends in Downtown L.A.

Police and FBI agents searched for the driver of a sport utility vehicle who led authorities on a pursuit through surface streets and into downtown Los Angeles on Thursday.

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Authorities pursued this maroon-colored SUV in downtown Los Angeles Thursday. (Credit: KTLA)

Wanted on suspicion of drug and possible kidnapping charges in Minnesota, the driver was arrested in North Hollywood several hours after the pursuit ended near Ninth and Broadway in downtown L.A. (map), authorities said.

Los Angeles Police Department officers began to pursue the vehicle on Cesar Chavez Avenue in East Los Angeles about 12:45 p.m., according to Officer Bruce Borihann of the LAPD.

The pursuit ended about 20 minutes after that with the driver ditching the SUV and fleeing on foot, prompting a police perimeter and a temporary warning for the public to stay away from the area.

Jesus Ramirez, 31, was taken into custody around 5:30 p.m. when coming out of a hotel in North Hollywood, according to Laura Eimiller, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles office of the FBI, which she said had been assisting with surveillance of the man.

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Officers searched for the driver after the pursuit ended near Ninth and Broadway. (Credit: KTLA)

After the pursuit began, the maroon-colored SUV took to the 5 Freeway before exiting in Boyle Heights and driving erratically along surface streets through downtown Los Angeles, into the Westlake area and Koreatown, and then back east into downtown.

Aerial video from Sky5 showed the SUV running red lights, going against traffic on a one-way street and driving at a high rate of speed. At one point the vehicle narrowly missed a pedestrian.

Front-end damage to the vehicle was visible.

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People were warned to avoid the area. (Credit: KTLA)

The driver eventually abandoned the vehicle in downtown Los Angeles and fled on foot, according to police.

Ramirez was taken into custody nearly five hours later in North Hollywood when coming out of a hotel, Eimiller said.

He was wanted on suspicion of state drug and possible kidnapping charges in St. Paul, Minn., and the FBI was assisting with surveilling him, she said.

It was during that surveillance that the man fled, prompting the pursuit, Eimiller said.

His vehicle, which appeared to have Nebraska license plates, had been stopped in the middle of Ninth Street between Broadway and Spring Street, aerial video showed.

The public was urged to stay away from the area as officers swarmed the scene, but a perimeter was broken down after less than an hour, according to LAPD spokesman Richard French.

The driver was expected to be held in an LAPD jail overnight and then presumably sent back to Minnesota, Eimiller said.

Ramirez was charged with four counts of kidnapping and one count of robbery in connection withan assault in St. Paul related to 30 pounds of stolen methamphetamine, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported.

KTLA’s Melissa Pamer contributed to this article.


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