Man Sentenced to 2 Years in Prison for Pursuit That Ended in Metro Tunnel in Boyle Heights

A man who pleaded no contest to charges related to a police pursuit that ended in a Metro tunnel in Boyle Heights last month has been sentenced to two years in prison, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office said Friday.

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.

Rafael Lopez Jr., 27, entered no contest pleas on Thursday to three felony counts, including fleeing a police car, driving or taking a vehicle without consent, and hit-and-run driving, according to a DA's news release.

The charges stemmed from a pursuit that began when police saw a reported stolen GMC pickup truck in Huntington Park on the night of Feb. 20, prosecutors said.

Lopez, who was identified as the man behind the wheel, failed to cooperate with Huntington Park police officers when they initiated a traffic stop, prompting the pursuit, the release stated.

At one point while leading police through on the high-speed chase through the East L.A. area, Lopez's truck slammed into a taxi cab in Boyle Heights, authorities said.

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)

He was also accused of running through red lights and driving on the wrong side of the street.

The pursuit ended when Lopez abandoned the truck in an underground Metro tunnel near the Soto Street and Indiana Metro stations after driving on the Gold Line train tracks.

A search for the suspect continued, however, and Lopez was caught hiding in a closet in the tunnel.

He was arrested and subsequently charged with six felony counts; Lopez would have faced up to four years in prison if convicted on all charges, prosecutors said.