Suspected Driver in Fatal North Hills Hit-and-Run in Custody After Pursuit: LAPD

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A man suspected in a fatal hit-and-run in North Hills early Saturday faced charges after leading police on a lengthy pursuit that ended on the Pacific Coast Highway, according to LAPD.

A coroner's van was at the scene of a deadly hit-and-run in North Hills on July 30, 2016. (Credit: KTLA)

A coroner’s van was at the scene of a deadly hit-and-run in North Hills on July 30, 2016. (Credit: KTLA)

The incident began about 12:30 a.m. when a Toyota Prius struck a pedestrian crossing the street at Sepulveda Boulevard and Parthenia Street, said Detective Bill Bustos of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Valley Traffic Division.

The pedestrian, described as a Hispanic man between the ages of 50 and 55, died at the scene, according to Bustos.

He did not have any ID on with him, and authorities were trying to determine his identification.

The Prius driver fled the scene northbound on Sepulveda without rendering any aid, Bustos said.

Sometime later, San Fernando Police Department officers observed a vehicle matching the description of the sought Prius driving “erratically” and attempted to pull the car over, according to the detective.

“They tried to initiate a traffic stop, but unfortunately the driver did not yield to the officers to stop, and a pursuit was initiated,” he said.

During the chase, the driver was going at a high rate of speed and driving on the wrong side of the street, according to the detective.

“We had pedestrians running out of the way to avoid being hit,” Bustos said. The driver was going “more than double the posted speed signs” on city streets.

“It was a very dangerous pursuit,” he added.

Multiple jurisdictions were involved with the chase, which eventually ended in Pacific Palisades after officers deployed a spike strip. The impaired Prius collided with a “parking pillar” in the area of PCH and Porto Marina Way, where the pursuit ended, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The driver was taken into custody.

He has been identified as 54-year-old Mark Christian Johnson, according to LAPD Sgt. Whorton, who said investigators have linked the pursuit and the deadly hit-and-run.

Johnson was booked on a felony evading charge; however, other charges related to the initial incident will be added, according to Whorton.

Bustos indicated that impairment was believed to have been a factor in the collision, but that would be determined at a later time.