Driver in custody after 3-hour long police chase ends in San Diego County
LOS ANGELES, Calif. (FOX 11) - A motorist who struck a person riding a scooter in Playa del Rey led police on a nearly three-hour pursuit on Thursday that stretched to San Diego County, where the man came to a stop alongside the Golden State (5) Freeway and holed up inside his car for about 45 minutes before being arrested.
The driver who led police on a three hour chase from Culver City to Oceanside on Thursday has been identified as 34 year-old Karl Flores.
According to Javed Bava, the President of the Islamic Society of Inglewood, Flores has a history of violent behavior and was acting erratically in the days before the pursuit.
On New Year's Day, Flores assaulted a worshiper with a metal stick, according to Bava.
"They said stop using bad words and leave from the property and he had a metal stick in his hand and he started swinging and he hit one person," Bava said.
Flores was an irregular member of the Inglewood mosque.
His behavior had worsened over the last few years, according to Bava.
Worshipers were surprised and disturbed to know it was Flores who lead police on the pursuit that left one person hospitalized.
Video of the end of that chase shows police dragging Flores out of his maroon sedan onto the freeway near Oceanside.
Flores is a veteran who suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, according to Bava.
In addition to the most recent assault, Flores was arrested at the mosque in 2016 when he attacked the caretaker who was hospitalized for several days.
Bava said that Flores lived near the mosque and would come during prayer time and tell worshipers they were going to hell.
Following Thursday's pursuit, Flores was taken to the hospital.
He's being charged with hit and run and evading arrest.
"He definitely needs help," Bava said. "He has serious issues," Bava said.
The chase originated around 10:50 a.m. near Sepulveda and Washington boulevards in Culver City, where police tried to pull over the suspect and his damaged red Honda Civic for vehicle code violations, according to Culver City police Lt. Troy Dunlap. The vehicle had a broken rear window, Dunlap said.
Culver City police pursued the suspect initially, but broke off the chase before being informed minutes later by Los Angeles police that the suspect had struck a person on a motorized scooter in the Playa del Rey area, Dunlap said. Culver City police re-entered the chase, but Los Angeles police
eventually took over the pursuit.
Los Angeles Fire Department officials said the scooter rider who was struck in the 7800 block of West Manchester Avenue was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The impact, however, smashed the front windshield of the suspect's car.
The chase continued at relatively slow speeds on Westchester-area streets. Police tried four times to stop the vehicle using PIT maneuvers, each time spinning the car around, but the motorist was able to drive away and elude capture. The Honda lost a rear bumper during the fourth PIT maneuver.
After the final PIT attempt, the suspect picked up speed and got on the southbound San Diego (405) Freeway, driving through Orange County and into San Diego County near Oceanside, where the suspect pulled to a stop alongside the 5 Freeway around 1:30 p.m. It was unclear if the suspect merely gave up the chase or ran out of gas.
Watch the chase unfold here on our Facebook page:
Despite coming to a stop, the suspect refused to immediately come out of the vehicle, despite opening the car door at least twice. With the help of a police dog, officers approached the car and took the driver into custody around 2:15 p.m.
The southbound 5 Freeway was closed during the standoff, stranding thousands of motorists.
CNS contributed to this story.