Driver Arrested on Suspicion of Murder After Passenger Dies in Pursuit

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The passenger in an allegedly stolen vehicle died in a crash at the end of a police pursuit in Temple City on Monday, according to police, who had arrested the driver on suspicion of murder.


A fatal police pursuit termination occurred in Temple City on June 2, 2014. (Credit: KTLA)

The pursuit ended shortly after 11:30 a.m. at Arden Drive and Lower Azusa Road (map), where a driver who had failed to stop for officers allegedly ran a red light and was hit by another vehicle, according to police.

An unmarked white sedan with had its hood crunched in; it was next to a nearly totaled black Honda, video from the scene showed.

A body appeared to remain in the passenger’s side of the Honda, covered in a sheet. Shattered windshield glass was sprayed across the hood of the Honda.

The driver, identified as Richard John Villareal, a 28-year-old Arcadia resident, was taken into custody at the scene, according to a news release from the Arcadia Police Department. The unidentified passenger was pronounced dead at the scene by county Fire Department personnel.

The pursuit began when Arcadia officers saw a stolen vehicle with two men inside at Workman Avenue and Baldwin Avenue. The officers tried to stop the vehicle about 1 1/2 miles away, but the driver did not yield.

The driver fled westbound on Lower Azusa Road into neighboring Temple City, traveling at up to 70 mph at one point, according to the release. Villareal allegedly ran a red light at Arden Drive and was struck by another vehicle that was traveling southbound.

The “suspect vehicle” was estimated to be going 50 to 60 mph at the time of the collision, according to the release.

Villareal was arrested on suspicion of murder, grand theft auto and felony evasion, police said.

The passenger’s identity was being withheld pending family notification of his death.

It was not clear if the driver of the other vehicle involved in the collision was injured.

Both the Arcadia Police Department and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department were investigating.