Driver of Stolen Vehicle Detained in Encino Following Slow-Speed Pursuit That Citizens Attempted to Halt

The driver of a stolen four-door car was detained and loaded into an ambulance after a pursuit that slowly wound through the San Fernando Valley Thursday night.

At one point after the chase reached Encino, having already been underway for more than an hour, several other motorists on the road jumped out of their vehicles and attempted to join in on the action.

It began around 10:15 p.m. near Sherman Way in Wilbur Avenue in Reseda, said Los Angeles Police Officer Norma Eisenman.

The driver, later identified as 40-year-old Jose Arquimide Figueroa, was originally suspected of driving while intoxicated, then after police ran his plates they realized he was driving a stolen vehicle, according to Officer Drake Madison.

Sky5 was first overhead around 10:30 p.m. as the pursuit was headed through surface streets in Winnetka.

After the suspect sedan paused for an extended time at a Victory Boulevard intersection, a patrol SUV executed a PIT maneuver, knocking off the car’s rear bumper, though it remained hanging by a thread until the chase ended more than an hour later.

The pursuit continued at glacial speeds — perhaps 5 to 10 mph — through a nearby residential neighborhood with three police vehicles closely following the four-door.

After winding around the neighborhood for about five minutes, the car ran over a spike strip deployed by an awaiting police unit. But the light-colored sedan continued inching forward.

Patrol SUVs made several more attempts to knock the car off the road, but the slow speeds the suspect vehicle was traveling at apparently made it difficult for officers to gain enough momentum to perform a successful PIT maneuver.

By 10:43 p.m., the chase had entered Reseda, continuing to pass in front of homes at a snail’s pace.

Additional PIT maneuvers were attempted, but they were only as successful as the previous tries.

The car stopped at the intersection Oxnard Street and Reseda Boulevard, then pulled into a nearby ARCO gas station, before continuing down Oxnard Street.

Additional spike strips were thrown, but they appeared to have no effect.

After 11 p.m., the chase had made its way to Encino, where it continued to gradually make its way through both commercial and residential areas.

At one point, as the pursuit entered heavier traffic shortly before 11:30 p.m., another driver got out of his vehicle and began dancing for the broadcast helicopters overhead.

Police were attempting to hold back traffic in the area, but one citizen vehicle that appeared to be a BMW attempted to block the pursuit vehicle in. The citizen was unsuccessful, and the chase continued.

But a moment later, a man got out of his car and began kicking the pursuit vehicle, then began chasing the pursuit on foot. The BMW from before could also be seen driving in front of the suspect car, still attempting to block it in, and its driver also jumped out of the vehicle to join in the kicking.

Eventually, at 11:42 p.m., with one final, successful PIT maneuver, officers cornered the pursuit vehicle near the intersection of Ventura Boulevard and Gloria Avenue.

A crowd of people gathered to watch as Figueroa was handcuffed. He appeared to be having difficulty breathing as officers sat him down on a curb, and he was taken away in an ambulance.

But he was later arrested on suspicious of evading peace officers. He was being held on $75,000 bail, inmate records show.