Pursuit Driver Who Caused Chain-Reaction Crash in Huntington Park Was on Drugs: CHP

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At least three passenger vehicles were damaged after being hit by an SUV driver fleeing authorities in Huntington Park on Feb. 5, 2019. (Credit: KTLA)

At least three passenger vehicles were damaged after being hit by an SUV driver fleeing authorities in Huntington Park on Feb. 5, 2019. (Credit: KTLA)

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Authorities released new information Tuesday about a police chase that ended in a multivehicle crash in Huntington Park last week, saying the pursuit driver was under the influence of drugs and driving with a suspended license.

Officers initially attempted to pull over Jaime Ramiro Torres, a 36-year-old Los Angeles man, around 9:50 p.m. after he ran a red light while heading east on Gage Avenue at the intersection with Central Avenue in South Los Angeles, the California Highway Patrol said in a news release.

But Torres, behind the wheel of a black 2004 Lincoln Navigator, failed to yield, officials said.

CHP launched a pursuit, though the ground units soon pulled off because of Torres’ reckless driving, the agency said. A law enforcement helicopter was used to keep track of his SUV.

Torres eventually made his way to South Gate, where he pulled into a parking lot at the intersection of Otis Street and Tweedy Boulevard. Officers in CHP cruisers responded to the location and again attempted to pull him over, but Torres fled once again.

The CHP said it stopped chasing Torres in Huntington Park as he was heading south on Alameda Street, approaching Slauson Avenue. But the suspect blew a red light at Slauson and continued south.

When he ran another red light at Randolph Street, Torres lost control of his SUV and it collided with several civilian vehicles in traffic on northbound Alameda Street, authorities said.

CHP did not provide details on how many other vehicles were struck or whether anyone inside them was injured. Aerial video of the crash showed at least three other cars were hit.

The crash disabled Torres’ Navigator and he was unable to continue fleeing.

Officials allege that Torres initially refused to comply with their commands to exit his SUV, but in the aerial footage it appeared he was unable to open the driver’s side door and was stuck inside. He eventually climbed out of the vehicle through a rear window.

Torres was taken into custody shortly before 10:45 p.m. Although he was originally only wanted for running a red light and eventually caused damage to several other passenger vehicles, CHP deemed the pursuit necessary.

The suspect was booked on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs resulting in bodily injury, being under the influence of a controlled substance, felony reckless evading, driving the wrong way while fleeing, resisting a peace officer and driving with a suspended license, CHP said.

He was being held on $175,000 bail and scheduled to appear in court Feb. 13, inmate records show.

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