Suspect carjacks 2 vehicles while fleeing at high speeds in Los Angeles police chase staff KABC logo
Thursday, July 20, 2023
Suspect carjacks 2 vehicles during San Fernando Valley chase
A man fled from officers in a stolen minivan through the San Fernando Valley and carjacked two other vehicles in his desperate attempt to escape.

LOS ANGELES -- A man fled from officers in a stolen minivan Wednesday through the San Fernando Valley in California and then carjacked two separate vehicles in his desperate attempt to escape.

The chase lasted more than an hour as the suspect fled on freeways at speeds over 100 mph, then weaved through traffic on surface streets and carjacked vehicles at two separate gas stations in the west valley.

It eventually ended in the suspect's surrender after his second carjacked vehicle was boxed in and rammed by CHP cruisers.

The chase started around 1 p.m. when officers spotted a stolen minivan wanted in connection with an incident earlier that morning.

At times the suspect fled at speeds exceeding 100 mph on the 118 Freeway in the Mission Hills area. The vehicle then exited onto surface streets in the northern valley and continued to drive recklessly, weaving through lanes and running lights.

At one point, it appeared one or more tires on the minivan were disabled from a police spike strip.

The suspect pulled over in the disabled minivan, jogged to a nearby gas station in the Northridge area and stole a woman's white BMW sedan. He ordered her 13-year-old son to get out of the car, and again fled at speeds exceeding 100 mph.

Esther Park, the owner of the BMW, was stunned - but grateful she and her son were not injured.

"I'm just in shock," Park told ABC Los Angeles affiliate KABC. "And I'm really scared. I'm just so thankful that my son's OK, that he didn't speed off with my son in the car."

Her son recalled the suspect's words in the car.

"He got in the car and he was just like, 'buddy get out,'" said Matthew Kim. "I just tried to get out as fast as I could. It was scary."

Minutes later, he pulled into a Chevron station, got out of the BMW and appeared to try to get into a Porsche that was pulled up at a gas pump. The Porsche driver apparently resisted and the suspect got back into the BMW.

A few minutes later he drove over uneven pavement in a construction zone on Ventura Boulevard and appeared to be damaging the tires and suspension.

He then pulled into an Arco station on Ventura and got into a white cargo van that was left unlocked at a pump and took off again. A witness said the driver of the van apparently left the key in the ignition.

Shortly after 2 p.m., CHP officers caught up with the cargo van at a freeway ramp on Moorpark Road in Thousand Oaks. Two units boxed him in front and back while a third unit rammed the cargo van from the side.

Within minutes, the suspect put his hands out the window, exited the van and laid down on the ground to surrender.

The suspect was believed to have been involved in an earlier incident around 11 a.m. in which he crashed into an LAPD unit in Burbank. Police ended that earlier pursuit at that time as they provided assistance to two injured officers.