ROWLAND HEIGHTS >> A San Bernardino woman accused of abandoning a stolen car while high on drugs, allowing it to roll downhill and into opposing traffic in a bizarre Rowland Heights crash captured on a viral dashcam video, is now a fugitive after skipping out on her court date last month, officials said.
Jasmin Lacey, 23, faces charges of driving under the influence of drugs, hit-and-run with a runaway car, auto theft, taking a car without the owner’s consent and driving without a valid license in connection with the Sept. 1 crash along Harbor Boulevard, between Vantage Point Drive and Pathfinder Road, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said.
But Lacey failed to appear for a Feb. 10 arraignment hearing scheduled in the Los Angeles County Superior Court’s West Covina branch, she said.
“A bench warrant was issued for her arrest,” Ardalani said.
•Video: Bizarre Rowland Heights crash
The strange series of events, which resulted in no injuries, was captured on another driver’s dashcam. The video, posted on YouTube, has since garnered more than 4.9 million views.
In the video, the driver of a 2010 Hyundai Sonata — later identified as Lacey — suddenly slams on the car’s brakes, bring the car to a halt, and exits the vehicle. The driver then walks down the center median with a casual stride as the abandoned Hyundai rolls downhill and across opposing traffic lanes.
California Highway Patrol officials said the car struck an SUV. A second SUV also became tangled in the wreck before the Hyundai ultimately struck two trees and came to a stop.
After being found in the area, Lacey appeared extremely intoxicated and provided no explanation for her alleged actions, CHP Officer Armando Perdomo said at the time.
She was initially arrested, but released from custody pending further investigation as officials awaited the results of blood tests, according to Perdomo and Los Angeles County booking records.
Prosecutors filed charges Feb. 5, records show.
The two auto theft-related crimes Lacey is charged with are felonies, Ardalani said. The three additional charges of hit-and-run, DUI and driving without a license are misdemeanors.
SAN MARINO >> Police jailed a wanted Alhambra man and his girlfriend after the man fled from a stolen car, which contained drugs and a gun, in San Marino early Sunday, police said.
The series of events began when police in San Marino pulled over a car in their city, according to Alhambra police officials, who assisted San Marino police.
“The male driver fled on foot, leaving his girlfriend behind inside the car,” Alhambra police officials said in a written statement. “Unfortunately for the fleeing suspect, he left his driver license in the car.”
Officers detained the female suspect and discovered a gun and drugs inside the car, which had been reported stolen, officials said. It was also determined that the fleeing man had several outstanding warrants for his arrest.
Police began keeping watch over the male suspect’s home in Alhambra, suspecting he may be trying to make his way there. An officer spotted the man walking down the street.
“The officer was able to sneak up on the subject and detain him,” according to the Alhambra police statement. “The subject was identified as the same person who fled from the San Marino officer.”
The suspects identities were not available Sunday. San Marino police, who are handling the investigation, could not be reached for comment.
GLENDALE >> Authorities Wednesday released the identity of a man fatally shot by West Covina police after stealing a police car and leading officers on a wild chase that ended in Glendale as television news cameras broadcast the incident live.
Man killed by police after stealing West Covina police car, leading cops on chase to Glendale identified
Gevork Alachadzhyan, 45, of North Hollywood died at the scene of Sunday’s 10:30 p.m. officer-involved shooting in the 100 block of South Glendale Avenue, according to Deputy Juanita Navarro-Suarez of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Information Bureau.
But sheriff’s homicide detectives, who are handling the officer-involved shooting investigation, placed a “security hold” on the case at the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner.
The security hold prevents coroner’s officials from releasing any information about the case, Winter said.
The reason for detectives’ decision to block the release of information was unclear. The handling detective at the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau declined to discuss the case Wednesday.
In a recording of police radio traffic from the pursuit, the driver — later identified as Alachadzhyan — can be heard screaming, sometimes unintelligibly, into the microphone.
AUDIO: West Covina police radio recording
“I’d rather take the car,” the man yells at one point.
“The police are gonna kill me,” he continued.
West Covina police chased Alachadzhyan, who activated the stolen squad car’s emergency lights and sirens, at high speeds before using a PIT maneuver to spin the car out. News helicopters filmed as a police SUV smashed broadside into the stolen cruiser, pinning it.
“The officers saw the suspect making efforts to remove weapons positioned between the passenger and driver’s seat,” officials from the sheriff’s Information Bureau said in a written statement. “Fearing the suspect was arming himself, both officers discharged their weapons.”
The suspect died at the scene, officials said. No officers were hurt.
Authorities said the suspect stole the West Covina police car after an officer responded to a call for service 200 block of Barranca Parkway in West Covina, but ultimately determined no crime had occurred, officials said.
The officer offered the man a ride to the east end of town, according to the statement.
Once the officer let the man out of the car, “the suspect ran to the driver’s door and assumed control of the vehicle,” according to the sheriff’s department statement.
“The transporting officer attempted to regain control of the police vehicle. The suspect began driving with the officer near the driver’s side window, but the officer was unable to regain control of the police vehicle.”
Fellow officers soon spotted the stolen police vehicle and initiated the chase.
In addition to numerous convictions for petty theft, receiving stolen property, DUI and driving without a license, Alachadzhyan was convicted in 2013 of possession of a machine gun, being a felon in possession of a gun, drug possession and possession of drugs for sales, records show.
Other convictions include contempt of court and false impersonation of another, according to court records. At the time of Wednesday’s chase and fatal shooting, Alachadzhyan had a case pending against him on charges of hit-and-run, driving on a suspended license and driving without a valid license.
COVINA >> Police jailed two alleged car thieves after a short pursuit that ended in Covina Sunday after the victims of an auto theft spotted their recently-stolen SUV driving through West Covina, officials said.
A man and wife called police about 12:45 p.m. to report that they’d just seen their 2007 Honda Element SUV, which has been stolen the previous day, being driven down Citrus Avenue near the 10 Freeway in West Covina, West Covina police Lt. Dave Lee said. A man was at the wheel, and a woman was riding as a passenger.
Police tried to pull over the stolen Honda, but the driver sped away, blowing through red lights and stop signs, Lee said.
The car slowed in the 2000 block of Puente Avenue, where both suspect jumped from the still-moving car, which continued rolling until it struck a mailbox, the lieutenant said.
The female passenger broke her ankle as she hopped from the still-rolling car and was immediately captured, Lee said. She was estimated to be about 30.
The driver, a man in his mid-20s, was found hiding in a residential garage and arrested with the help of a police dog following an hour-long neighborhood search, he said.
Both suspects were taken to a hospital for treatment, Lee said. Their identities were not available Sunday afternoon.
They were expected to be booked on suspicion of auto theft and resisting arrest, Lee said. The driver was also expected to be booked for evading police.
IRWINDALE >> A routine traffic stop Saturday led police to arrest two San Bernardino brother — both convicted felons — riding in a stolen car along with an unregistered handgun and identity theft materials, officials said.
Donnie Jesse Reyes, 27, and Ricardo Augustine Reyes, 37, were each booked on suspicion of taking a car without the owner’s consent, possession of fraudulent credit cards, possession of a concealed firearm and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, according to Irwindale police Sgt. Rudy Gatto
An officer on patrol about 4:20 p.m. at Vincent Avenue and Arrow Highway noticed a black, 2005 Infiniti QX SUV with dealer plates make a traffic violation and pulled it over, police said. Donnie Reyes was at the wheel.
“During the officer’s investigation, he learned that the vehicle had been reported stolen to the California Highway Patrol (Santa Fe Springs office) in July, 2015,” Gatto said.
After arresting the two men for auto theft, a search of the car turned up an unregistered, .380-caliber handgun, along with fraudulent or altered credit cards and other people’s identifying documents, officials said.
“It was also learned that both of the suspects were convicted felons prohibited from possessing firearms,” Gatto added.
According to Los Angeles County booking records, Donnie Reyes was being held in lieu of $145,000 bail pending a scheduled arraignment Wednesday in West Covina Superior Court. Ricardo Reyes, described by police as a documented gang member, was being held in lieu of $45,000 pending his arraignment, scheduled for the same date and courthouse.
WEST COVINA >> West Covina police arrested two men and a teenage girl early Saturday following chase in a stolen car and an officer-involved shooting in the unincorporated county area of South San Jose Hills in which no one was injured, officials said.
The series of events began at 3:12 a.m. when police tried to stop a 1994 Toyota Camry for a traffic violation in the area of Azusa Avenue and Amar Road, West Covina police Lt. Dennis Patton said.
“Officers attempted to make a traffic stop on a motorist, who led them on a high-speed pursuit,” Patton said. In addition the driver, which was later determined to be stolen, a second man and a teenage girl also rode in the car as passengers.
The pursuit came to an end when the car pulled into a cul-de-sac near Gemini Street and Hambledon Avenue and stopped, the lieutenant said.
“The driver abruptly put the vehicle in reverse and used the vehicle in a ramming motion in an effort to pin our lead officer between his vehicle and the door of vehicle, Patton said.
The officer fired several rounds at the approaching car, which came to a halt. No one was struck by the gunfire.
But the driver still refused orders to surrender, Patton said. Officers ultimately took him into custody with the help of a police dog.
The other two suspects were arrested without a struggle, Patton said.
All three were accused of auto theft and resisting arrest, he said.
The driver, 18-year-old Raymond Elias of El Monte, was taken to a hospital for treatment before being booked into jail, is also accused of attempted murder of a police officer and evading police.
WEST COVINA >> West Covina police arrested an El Monte gang member who led them on a short chase in a stolen car before ditching the vehicle, as well as a loaded handgun, and trying to escape on foot, officials said.
Parolee Andrew Cuevas, 23, is accused of being a felon in possession of firearm, auto theft, evading police and violating parole, West Covina police Lt. Dennis Patton said.
Officers encountered Cuevas about 7:20 a.m. when they tried to pull over the car he was driving for a traffic violation, the lieutenant said.
Cuevas sped away instead, leading police on a brief pursuit before abandoning the car and running at Pacific and Puente avenues, just across the city border in Baldwin Park, he said.
“(Cuevas) proceeded to run from vehicle, making continuous furtive gestures in area of his waistband,” Patton said. Refusing repeated orders stop, “He pulled out a weapon — a handgun, loaded semi-auto — and tossed it into an adjacent yard.”
Officers then captured Cuevas without a struggle, Patton said.
The car Cuevas had been driving was found to have been taken earlier in the morning in West Covina, but not yet reported to police as stolen.
Cuevas was taken to a hospital for examination prior to booking due to a pre-existing medical condition, officials said. He was expected to be held without bail pending his initial court appearance.
WHITTIER >> Police jailed an alleged car thief Saturday after he led police on a chase and crashed into a tree, authorities said.
Leonard Marin, 26, of Monterey Park is accused of auto theft and evading police in connection with the incident, which unfolded about noon, Whittier police Lt. Aaron Ruiz said.
An officer spotted a 1998 Honda Civic with no license plates driving along Pickering Avenue near Beverly Boulevard, the lieutenant said. Police tried to pull over the car, which sped away instead.
Police chased the car south on Pickering Avenue until it made a left turn onto Philadelphia Street and lost control of the car, which struck a tree, Ruiz said.
Officers arrested Marin at the crash scene and took him to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries before booking him into jail, Ruiz said.
The car had been reported stolen in early-December in Los Angeles, he said.
MONTEBELLO >> A car thief stole a minivan with a 1-year-old boy inside of it from a Montebello recycling center Thursday afternoon before being found unharmed, along with the abandoned vehicle, four hours later in Pico Rivera, authorities said.
The theft and possibly unintentional kidnapping took place about 3 p.m. at S.A. Recycling, 1545 Gage Road, Montebello police officials said.
One-year-old Caleb Castro, who was passenger in the red 2003 Honda Odyssey minivan when it was stolen, was found safe inside the minivan nearly four hours later after it was abandoned outside a Pico Rivera McDonalds restaurant, according to police.”
“The child was found inside (the minivan) safe and unharmed and is at a local hospital being looked at,” police said in a written statement.
Authorities issued an Amber Alert following the initial carjacking, Montebello police Lt. Michael Bergman.
“The suspect approached the parked vehicle, while three children sat in the car. Their mother stepped away approximately 10 feet and was going to recycle some items,” according to a police statement.
“The suspect approached the vehicle, ordered two girls — 6- and 4-year-olds out of the car,” the statement continued. But the woman’s 1-year-old son remained in the minivan.
The thief drove off in the minivan, which had the keys still in the ignition, police said.
“The mother screamed that her baby was in the car, however the suspect fled with the vehicle out of the parking lot and southbound on Gage Road,” according to the statement.
A witness who had seen the Amber Alert spotted the stolen minivan shortly before 7 p.m. in the parking lot of a McDonald’s restaurant, 9333 W. Slauson Ave. in Pico Rivera, officials said.
The carjacker remained at large, officials said. He was described as a Latino man, about 30 years, with spiked hair. He spoke Spanish.
Suspect photo courtesy of the Montebello Police Department
IRWINDALE >> Police working a DUI patrol in Irwindale late Christmas night arrested an alleged drunken driver who led them on a chase in a stolen pickup truck that ended in a crash at a park in Baldwin Park, authorities said.
Miguel Higuera Lujan, 36, of Baldwin Park remained jailed in lieu of $25,000 bail Saturday on suspicion of auto theft, DUI and hit-and-run, according to Irwindale police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
Two officers were working an extra enforcement operation in search of intoxicated drivers just after 11 p.m. when they saw a 1994 Nissan pickup truck run a stop sign at Ramona Boulevard and Elton Avenue, Irwindale police Sgt. George Zendejas said.
The driver refused to pull over, starting a chase, the sergeant said. He fled for about a mile, running through a red light otherwise driving recklessly, before driving the truck through the basketball court at Hilda L. Solis Park, at 15010 Badillo Street in Baldwin Park.
“Thankfully, there was no one in the area,” Zendejas said.
Lujan jumped from the still-moving truck and continued to flee on foot. The truck came to a stop after crashing into a chain link fence at the edge of a flood control channel, officials said. Police soon captured the fleeing suspect nearby.
Police determined the truck had been reported stolen in the Temple City area.
Zendejas commended the involved officers.
“This was outstanding work on behalf of the officers working the DUI enforcement patrol and taking another dangerous DUI driver off the streets to keep our citizens safe during the holiday season,” he said.
Lujan was scheduled to appear for arraignment Tuesday in West Covina Superior Court.