Suspected DUI driver, passenger allegedly fired at deputies, L.A. Co. Sheriff’s Department helicopter during pursuit

Local News

Commuters in Sylmar Friday morning were dealing with the effects of a wild pursuit in which the suspects allegedly opened fire on deputies and took shots at a Sheriff’s Department helicopter the night before.

Freeway closures were still in place Friday morning on the southbound 14 Freeway to the southbound 5 Freeway, the northbound 5 Freeway to the eastbound and westbound 210 Freeway, the westbound 210 Freeway to the southbound 5 Freeway, and the southbound 5 Freeway at the 14 Freeway.

Just after 5 a.m., Caltrans tweeted that most of the area freeways had reopened, but the southbound 5 Freeway to the eastbound 210 Freeway was still closed.

The events began about 9:30 p.m. when the investigators say a suspected DUI driver refused to pull over in the Antelope Valley.

The driver allegedly shot at deputies early on in the pursuit and took to the 14 Freeway in an attempt to get away.

Additional shots were fired on the 14 Freeway “where the suspect shot at the sheriff’s helicopter,” Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Lt. Robert Westphal said.

The suspects may also have thrown some narcotics out of the vehicle at some point during the pursuit, Westphal said.

The driver eventually merged onto the southbound 5 Freeway in Santa Clarita. Areal video from Sky5 showed the vehicle’s hood had popped up and appeared to be blocking the driver’s view.

Deputies used a spike strip to further disable the vehicle, which finally came to a stop as the driver was trying to merge onto the eastbound 210 Freeway in Sylmar just after 10:15 p.m.

“At which time the driver exited with a Tec-9 semi-automatic handgun and a deputy involved shooting occurred,” Westphal said.

The suspect was hit in the leg, dropped his gun and ran down an embankment, he said.

After crossing the 5 Freeway in one direction of traffic and scaling a center divider, video showed the suspect was clipped by a motorist before he could finish crossing the freeway.

Deputies rushed onto the freeway and pulled the suspect out of traffic lanes after an initial struggle.

The suspect was taken to a local hospital in stable condition, Westphal said.

One deputy was also clipped by a vehicle while chasing the suspect across the freeway. That deputy was hospitalized and is in good condition.

“This was an absolutely out of control chase … we’re just amazed that nobody else got injured,” Westphal said.

A second suspect remained inside the vehicle and was also taken into custody. A second handgun was also found inside the vehicle, Westphal said.

Both men are in their 30s and are from Northern California. The car they were driving was not registered to them but was not reported stolen, he said.

Investigators believe both the driver and the passenger fired their weapons during the chase.

They will likely be charged with assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer, Westphal said.

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