Man Faces More Than 4 Years in Prison Following Pursuit That Ended in Metro Tunnel in Boyle Heights

A man could face more than four years in prison after being arrested and charged following a pursuit that ended in a Metro Gold Line tunnel in Boyle Heights, authorities said Thursday.

Rafael Lopez, 27, is seen in a booking photo from Feb. 20, 2018, released by the Huntington Park Police Department.

Rafael Lopez, 27, is seen in a booking photo from Feb. 20, 2018, released by the Huntington Park Police Department.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced that Rafael Lopez Jr., 27, has been charged with six counts: fleeing a pursuing peace officer’s motor vehicle while driving recklessly; fleeing a pursuing peace officer’s motor vehicle and driving against traffic; driving or taking a vehicle without consent; receiving a stolen vehicle; hit-and-run driving resulting in injury to another person; and hit-and-run driving resulting in property damage.

Officers took the L.A. resident into custody after pursuing him for more than an hour late Tuesday, Huntington Park police said in statement.

A woman seen sitting on the passenger’s seat remained wanted by authorities as of Wednesday.

The chase began around 9:45 p.m. following reports of a stolen vehicle near Salt Lake and Gage avenues in Huntington Park, according to police.

Authorities said Lopez, who was driving a GMC pickup truck, pulled over when police caught up but he stopped cooperating and fled.

Lopez allegedly led the officers on a chase through the East L.A. area, at one point hitting a taxi cab in Boyle Heights. One passenger was taken to a hospital after complaining of pain, but no other injuries were reported.

A GMC truck is seen after it became stuck in a Metro Gold Line train tunnel following a pursuit on Feb. 20, 2018. (Credit: LAPD Transit Service Division)

A GMC truck is seen after it became stuck in a Metro Gold Line train tunnel following a pursuit on Feb. 20, 2018. (Credit: LAPD Transit Service Division)

The suspect drove at high speeds, ran through red lights and traveled on the wrong side of the road during the pursuit, prosecutors said.

Lopez then went on the light rail lines of the Metro Gold Line and into an underground tunnel, where he abandoned the truck, according to the District Attorney’s Office. Police found him hiding in a closet in the tunnel, authorities said.

Lopez was scheduled to be arraigned Thursday. Prosecutors asked bail to be set at $150,000.

If convicted as charged, Lopez could face up to four years and four months in state prison.