An “armed and dangerous” driver surrendered to LAPD officers in South Los Angeles Friday afternoon after a slow-speed pursuit in which he appeared at various times to be talking to people, and possibly high-fiving or handing out objects to onlookers.
The pursuit, which began before 1:45 p.m., involved a bright green Toyota Prius taxicab and went through residential areas and heavily trafficked surface streets of Inglewood, Hawthorne and South L.A., aerial video showed.
The driver was suspected of grand theft auto, according to Officer Tony Im of the Los Angeles Police Department.
It was not initially clear whether he had a weapon with him, but LAPD later tweeted that they considered him to be “armed and dangerous.”
While the man appeared to be sticking to the confines of one lane and was traveling at a slow rate of speed for the most part, the taxi was observed running red lights and making U-turns.
Early in the chase, the man stuck his hand out the window and either high-fived someone or handed that person something while multiple police vehicles gave chase, aerial video showed.
Shortly before 3 p.m., the driver could be soon looking out the window, possibly back at police, and came to a stop at two separate spots on the same residential street before driving away from LAPD patrol cars both times.
Several times during the pursuit, the man stopped to speak with pedestrians, including one instance in which he was talking to someone stopped at a South L.A. intersection. The driver-side door of the other car was briefly opened before the driver in the taxi sped off, aerial video showed.
A short time after that, he made a dangerous maneuver through a crossing arm, nearly going into the path of an oncoming Metro train, according to the video. The train then came to halt, blocking the driver’s path, which forced him to make a U-turn.
As he continued on, the driver slowed and again appeared to hand a group of young people some type of object, the video showed.
Shortly before 3:30 p.m., the taxi sped up as an armored police SUV began following it. After multiple PIT maneuvers, the Prius was pinned between two armored police vehicles and a SWAT unit, according to the aerial video. A police K-9 was also at the scene.
The driver then got out of the car and onto the ground, appearing to surrender to authorities without incident. He was later seen being placed in handcuffs beside a police vehicle.
Police have not yet released the driver’s name.
No further details about the auto theft were immediately available.
KTLA’s Anthony Kurzweil and Jennifer Thang contributed to this story.