A man accused of stealing a California Highway Patrol cruiser died Tuesday afternoon after throwing himself from the vehicle as he was being chased by authorities in the Antelope Valley, authorities said.
The CHP cruiser, a Dodge Charger, was stolen as officers were responding to a crash on the northbound 5 Freeway at Hasley Canyon.
A CHP officer responded to that crash scene and, while checking on the parties involved, the driver of one of the involved vehicles got out of his vehicle, hopped into the parked CHP cruiser and drove off, officials said.
Officers pursued the vehicle as it reached speeds of 100 mph on Highway 138, CHP officials told KTLA.
Once at 87th Street West and West Avenue D, the suspect jumped out of the speeding vehicle, hitting the roadway as the cruiser continued to travel off the road before crashing into a light pole.
He appeared to hit the back of his head on the road and was clearly unconscious. It’s estimated the vehicle was traveling at speeds nearing 50 mph when he jumped out.
Officers dragged the man off of the roadway out of fear that the damaged power pole might fall near him. They pulled him to the side of the road and provided medical aid until he was eventually taken to a hospital around 12:55 p.m.
During a news conference Tuesday evening, CHP announced that he had died.
“CHP personnel on scene performed life-saving measures and the driver was transported to Antelope Valley Hospital, where he was pronounced deceased,” said CHP Officer Alec Pereyda.
The name of the driver was not immediately released pending notification of next of kin.
CHP is still investigating how the cruiser was stolen. Pereyda said it was standard procedure for a vehicle to be left running when officers exit their vehicles, but added that the doors are required to be locked.
Anyone with information about the pursuit or the man involved is asked to contact the CHP Newhall branch at 661-600-1600.