Wrong-way driver arrested after wild chase through San Fernando Valley

BURBANK, Calif. — Authorities said they engaged in a standoff with a suspect who led them on a wild chase in which he repeatedly rammed pursuing officers and civilian cars before heading the wrong way down the 5 Freeway in Burbank, KTLA reported.

The encounter began after police responded to reports of a man armed with a knife about 7:25 p.m. at Big Tujunga Canyon Road and Oro Vista Avenue, Los Angeles Police Department Officer Rosario Cervantes said. The driver refused to pull over, initiating a chase.

Aerial footage showed the driver putting his car in reverse and ramming pursuing officers’ vehicles several times. The driver was seen waving an object, possibly a knife, out the window during the chase.

The car then entered the 5 Freeway in the Sun Valley area, heading south in the northbound lanes, then continued into Burbank.

The pursuit transitioned into a standoff after the car rammed two civilian vehicles and came to a stop on the freeway near Buena Vista Street.

Authorities were seen firing weapons as the driver exited the car. He then got back in.

It was unclear whether the shots fired were live or less-lethal rounds.

After remaining inside the car for about an hour, the suspect again emerged from the car. Another apparent volley of either live or less-lethal gunfire followed. The driver then lied down on the road before being swarmed by officers.

“This was one that I haven’t seen in quite a while,” LAPD Officer Josh Rubenstein said. “The amount of danger that everybody was in… because the suspect was ramming innocent bystander vehicles as well.”

Almost 15 hours after the pursuit started Friday night, all northbound lanes reopened at around 10 a.m. Saturday after authorities towed away the suspect’s vehicle. Southbound lanes reopened at around midnight, but a stretch of the highway’s northbound lanes had been closed Saturday morning between Alameda Avenue and Buena Vista Street, according to California Highway Patrol.

Authorities did not identify the suspect.

No further details were immediately available.

 

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