2 Drivers Detained After Civilian Pickup Begins Following Stolen Car Involved in at Least 2 Collisions in San Fernando Valley

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A stolen vehicle pursuit ended with two drivers in custody after a civilian began chasing the suspect across the San Fernando Valley Monday night. Sky5 was initially overhead the pursuit around 8:30 p.m. as the older-model sedan was exiting the 118 Freeway at San Fernando Road in Pacoima. Los Angeles Police Officer Tony Im confirmed the vehicle was stolen. The car, which appeared to be a Toyota from the late 80s or early 90s, then began winding its way through surface streets, first in a residential neighborhood before moving to more commercial areas. The driver was maneuvering dangerously around other motorists as he attempted to escape authorities, driving on the wrong side of the road and at one point colliding with another vehicle. The stolen car sustained visible damage to its front right side but was able to continue on. At least one law enforcement SUV was about 100 yards behind as the suspect vehicle wound its way around the Van Nuys, Northridge, North Hills and Reseda areas. Around 8:50 p.m., LAPD’s ground units pulled off the chase, though authorities continued to monitor in aerial units. That move was intended to create safer road conditions, but the stolen car soon crashed into a minivan in an intersection in the North Hills area. The sedan sustained further front-end damage, yet still continued on. A spike strip was deployed around 9 p.m., but it did not appear to impede the suspect vehicle’s progress. A short time later, it narrowly avoided a family in a crosswalk. About five minutes later, police made the decision to stop pursuing the suspect, both on ground and aerially. The driver was said to be communicating with authorities via cellphone to negotiate a surrender. After pausing to speak with several people along the side of the road, it appeared the driver got a pedestrian to give him a cigarette near the corner of Sepulveda and Roscoe boulevards. A short time later, the stolen car cut off a pickup trying to get into a gas station. The truck then began closely following the suspect. Over concern for the pickup driver, police units resumed the pursuit. But after several patrol SUVs were behind the truck and sedan with their lights on, both drivers refused to pull over. Eventually, the pickup was able to block the stolen car in against several oncoming cars that had pulled over. Authorities pulled the Toyota driver from the car and handcuffed him. But while they were detaining the stolen vehicle driver, the pickup truck driver began to flee the scene. Authorities re-engaged their sirens and followed him, and he surrendered a short time later. Both men were handcuffed and loaded into police vehicles. The pickup truck driver was released from custody about an hour later, authorities said.

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