Deadly Long Beach pursuit crash: Suspect led authorities on chase with baby in the car
LONG BEACH, Calif. - Southern California officials said an innocent woman was killed and seven others were injured in a nine-vehicle collision after a suspect led authorities on a high-speed chase with a baby in the car from Seal Beach to Long Beach.
According to the Seal Beach Police Department, the chase stemmed from the traffic stop of a couple in a silver Lexus sedan near the intersection of 5th Street and Marina Drive. During the traffic stop, the male passenger switched sides with the woman behind the wheel.
"After contacting the female driver of the vehicle, the officer returned to his vehicle and noticed that the female had switched seats with her male passenger," said Lt. Julia Clasby with Seal Beach PD. Despite a baby being in the vehicle, he then sped off and a police chase ensued.
The suspect has since been identified as 39-year-old Chaz Lamar Long of Antioch. Long had an outstanding federal warrant for a weapons violation. The woman in the vehicle has only been identified as an African American in her 30's from Northern California.
Long led officers to the Pacific Coast Highway and during the pursuit, he allegedly drove on the wrong side of the roadway. The pursuit took a deadly turn shortly after crossing county lines when Long crashed into several cars at Second Street and the PCH in Long Beach around 8 p.m.
SUGGESTED: Police chase alternatives exist, so why don't SoCal agencies use them?
A woman in a gray Kia – who had nothing to do with the chase nor the suspect – was pronounced dead at the scene. She was identified as Sara Shorteno, 74, of Toronto, according to the Los Angeles County coroner's office. She was a passenger in one of the vehicles involved in the collision with the suspects' car, officials said.
Seven other victims were taken to area hospitals and five had critical injuries.
- Northridge pursuit crash: CSUN student on way home from work killed by suspect fleeing from LAPD
- Police chase turns deadly: Two bystanders killed in pursuit crash in Panorama City
- Lynwood pursuit crash: Married couple coming home from quinceañera among 3 killed
The baby was hospitalized and is expected to be OK.
Long tried to run away from the scene on foot but was eventually placed in custody. He was booked for murder, felony child endangerment, felony evading, and felony hit-and-run. Detectives are planning to file the case with the Orange County District Attorney’s Office later this week.
Seal beach police say they had no idea about the federal warrant on Long. He was apparently worried the baby was a human trafficking victim.
The deadly crash in Long Beach remains under investigation.
This becomes yet another chase where an innocent bystander was killed in Los Angeles County.