Passenger Dead, Driver Hospitalized After Gardena Police Pursuit Ends in Fiery Crash

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The driver of a vehicle pursued by Gardena police has been hospitalized and his female passenger is dead after the chase ended in a fiery crash into a power pole in the Westmont area Tuesday morning.

The pursuit began when officers tried to stop a vehicle that was stolen from South Gate but the driver would not pull over, according to Gardena Police Department statement. The driver at one point rammed a patrol vehicle, according to the statement.

The pursuit sped through Gardena and South Los Angeles until the driver crashed into another vehicle and then a power pole at 99th Street and Normandie Avenue in the unincorporated Westmont area, police said.

The vehicle "immediately caught fire," but officers were able to pull the driver out, according to the statement. A woman passenger was trapped in the car and died.

"This is a tragic situation all around," the police statement read. "Our thoughts are with the family of the woman who was killed in the crash."

The driver was hospitalized with injuries that are not life threatening and was arrested on suspicion of assault on an officer and evading arrest. Neither the driver nor the passenger has been identified.

Aerial video of the crash scene showed a Jeep-like SUV had slammed into a power pole and was totaled; about a dozen police vehicles responded.

No officers were injured.

Gardena police and the California Highway Patrol were investigating. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department responded to handle traffic and crowd control.

KTLA's Jennifer Thang and Judy Oehling contributed to this article.

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