CHP Identifies Driver in Dangerous, High-Speed Pursuit That Ended in Palmdale

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A driver who led LAPD and CHP on a dangerous, high-speed pursuit that involved at least three crashes and ended in a mid-intersection standoff in the Antelope Valley was identified Tuesday as a 33-year-old Palmdale man.

LAPD was in pursuit of a pickup truck in the San Fernando Valley on Feb. 23, 2015. (Credit: KTLA)

LAPD was in pursuit of a pickup truck in the San Fernando Valley on Feb. 23, 2015. (Credit: KTLA)

Sean Christopher Druschel was being held on suspicion of felony reckless evading, driving under the influence, and for being under the influence of a controlled substance, according to a Tuesday news release from the California Highway Patrol.

During the Monday evening chase, a female passenger exited the vehicle. She was questioned but was not taken into custody.

The pursuit of the Ford F-150 pickup truck began in Canoga Park just after 5 p.m. Monday, officials said. The motorist was wanted for reckless driving, according to CHP, which took over the pursuit about 5:45 p.m. as the truck headed north on the 14 Freeway.

The driver had led Los Angeles Police Department officials through the San Fernando Valley, crashing in Canoga Park and Granada Hills before entering the 118 Freeway and then exiting into the Porter Ranch neighborhood.

The dark-gray truck, which had an identifiable green roof and hood, headed out of LAPD territory and onto the 14 Freeway with CHP in pursuit.

After a CHP vehicle used the PIT maneuver on a truck fleeing in a chase that lasted more than an hour, the truck crashed into a vehicle across an intersection in Palmdale on Feb. 23, 2015. (Credit: KTLA)

After a CHP vehicle used the PIT maneuver on a truck fleeing in a chase that lasted more than an hour, the truck crashed into a vehicle across an intersection in Palmdale on Feb. 23, 2015. (Credit: KTLA)

Throughout the pursuit, the driver drove erratically, weaving in and out of traffic, driving on the wrong side of the road, speeding through red lights, and driving on the shoulder, aerial video from Sky5 showed.

Druschel reached up to 120 mph, according to CHP.

The driver exited the freeway at Avenue N in Palmdale and drove to a gated community, where the female passenger exited the truck and ran into a home just after 6 p.m.

The truck appeared to be headed back to the freeway when CHP conducted a PIT maneuver, aerial footage showed.

Although the driver appeared to regain control of the truck, he slowly drove head-on into a dark-colored car stopped at the intersection of Rancho Vista Boulevard and 30th Street West (map).

The driver of a truck involved in a pursuit lies on the street nearly 40 minutes after a crash ended in chase in Palmdale on Feb. 23, 2015. (Credit: KTLA)

The driver of a truck involved in a pursuit lies on the street nearly 40 minutes after a crash ended in chase in Palmdale on Feb. 23, 2015. (Credit: KTLA)

The suspect remained inside the truck as an officer assisted two people out of the car.

“One of our officers put himself in harm’s way and actually ran to that vehicle … took them out of their vehicle and assisted them to a safe location,” CHP Officer Gil Hernandez said.

About a dozen patrol vehicles parked behind the truck as dozens of pedestrian-driven vehicles attempted to clear the roadway.

As the suspect stayed in the truck, witnesses saw white smoke coming from the truck’s window. Authorities said they believed he was smoking some kind of drug from a pipe.

About 40 minutes after the truck stopped, as a police dog arrived, the driver exited the vehicle around 6:55 p.m., lay down in the street and was taken into custody.

Druschel was taken to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department's Lancaster Station.

Officials initially said Druschel was held on $25,000 bail, but later said he was already on probation for an unrelated drug charge and was now being held in lieu of $100,000 bail.

KTLA's Melissa Pamer contributed to this article.

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