Authorities on Friday identified a self-described gang member from Montebello who led police on a chase in a stolen work truck from Bell Gardens to Pasadena before crashing and seriously injuring a mother of five, officials said.
Fernando Octavio Frenes, 51, is accused of auto theft, hit-and-run, evading police causing serious bodily injury and violating his probation stemming from a prior assault conviction, according to Bell Gardens Police Department officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
He was fleeing law enforcement officers in a stolen Chevrolet Silverado work truck when he crashed the vehicle into the driver-side of an SUV being driven by a woman at Orange Grove Boulevard and Holly Street in Pasadena, Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said.
The woman was hospitalized in serious-but-stable condition, officials said. Frenes was treated for minor injuries before being booked into jail.
The pursuit began after Bell Gardens police received a call from a man reporting his truck had been stolen, and he was tracking it via a GPS device, Bell Gardens police said in a written statement.
Officers spotted the truck in the 6300 block of Gage Avenue, but Frenes refused to pull over, initiating a pursuit, officials said.
The chase went along surface streets and freeways for 35 minutes before Bell Gardens police broke off the chase due to safety concerns, according to the department.
A Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department helicopter continued monitoring the truck, and California Highway Patrol officers resumed pursuing the truck about 30 minutes later, police said. CHP officials said Thursday that CHP officers had not been involved in the pursuit.
The chase soon ended with the T-bone crash in Pasadena.
The victim, Ana Isabel Rodriguez , 60, was released from the hospital on Friday, her son, Oscar Oliva said.
"It hit right in the center of the car, so it smashed the doors in," he said. "She said she didn’t lose consciousness, which is great, as well."
Rodriguez had just completed her job as a nanny and was on her way home when she was struck by the fleeing driver, family said.
"I was thankful and grateful she has no broken bones, no lacerations. She’s just very bruised up and badly beaten up," Oliva said.
"It could have been a lot worse than it was, and we just hope that (the suspect) does pay for what he's done," he added.
Frenes drove at speeds of more than 90 mph and struck four vehicles during the pursuit, which lasted more than an hour, altogether, Bell Gardens police said.
"Frenes is a self-admitted gang member and is on probation under the Post-Release Community Supervision program for assault," the police statement said. He was already wanted for violating his probation at the time of the pursuit.
Frenes was being held without bail, county booking records show. He was scheduled to appear in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Monday for an arraignment hearing.