Parolee faces nearly 20 charges in carjacking, 2-county police chase
SANTA ANA, Calif. - The man accused of leading authorities on an hours long police chase through Los Angeles and Orange counties in which the driver stole two separate cars has been charged with nearly 20 felonies and even more misdemeanors for the pursuit, the Orange County District Attorney's Office announced Wednesday.
Johnny Anchondo, 33, of Moreno Valley was charged Wednesday. All told, he's facing 18 felony counts including first-degree burglary, assault with a deadly weapon, theft, reckless driving, resisting an officer and vandalism, in addition to seven misdemeanor counts. All of the charges are being prosecuted in Orange County, since that's where the chase originated, the DA's office explained.
This all happened back on Nov. 9, when police in Fullerton said they tried to pull Anchondo over for "vehicle violations." From there, the driver drove into a condo complex, got out of the car, and stole a white van. When officers tried to box him in, he rammed the van into police cruisers then drove away.
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In the van, the driver led police on a chase, reaching nearly triple digit speeds while crashing into multiple cars, eventually wedging the van between parked cars in Whittier. The driver then hopped out of the passenger's window, ran into a Whittier home, and fought off a family before stealing their truck to continue the chase.
Andres Benitez, who allegedly tried to fight off Anchondo, said he was home for just minutes when the man came into their family's house and stole the truck.
Benitez told FOX 11 that he saved up money and purchased the truck just three weeks earlier. He has a landscaping business with his brother and father and all their equipment was in the truck.
But luckily, the community came together and helped the family. A GoFundMe campaign for the family has since raised over $100,000.
The chase came to an end roughly an hour later, after Anchondo allegedly rammed through several cars, the truck eventually coming to a stop at a gas station, before officers shot at the driver. The driver was not injured.
"It is only by the grace of God that an innocent person wasn’t seriously injured or killed by someone who was hell-bent on doing whatever he could to try to escape, including stealing multiple vehicles and assaulting numerous law enforcement officers," said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer.
Anchondo, who is already on parole for attempted carjacking and evading police, faces a maximum sentence of 54 years if convicted on all counts. He is currently being held in custody in Los Angeles County.