Pursuit suspect accused of killing two in Panorama City was on heroin, fentanyl, police say
LOS ANGELES - The suspect accused of leading police on a high-speed chase that ended in a violent crash that killed two bystanders was apparently on drugs at the time of the chase, LAPD said in a statement.
According to the police department, Oscar De La Cruz stole a vehicle and led police on a chase through parts of the San Fernando Valley on Jan. 31.
Patrol units spotted a stolen vehicle driving in Pacoima and attempted to conduct a traffic stop, but De La Cruz sped away and a four-minute police pursuit ensued.
Police say as the pursuit continued, they initiated tracking mode and shortly after that, the vehicle crashed at the intersection of Woodman Avenue and Lanark Street in Panorama City. The suspect's vehicle violently struck another vehicle, killing two innocent bystanders.
The coroner and family members have since identified the two victims as 46-year-old Christopher Teagardin and 49-year-old Timothy Schultz. The two men were best friends.
After the crash, police say De La Cruz attempted to run but was arrested after a minor use of force. Officers say De La Cruz appeared to be under the influence of narcotics. He then admitted to injecting heroin and ingesting fentanyl. Officers administered three doses of Narcan to De La Cruz and he was taken to the hospital.
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A passenger inside his vehicle sustained minor injuries.
Police say De La Cruz has an extensive criminal history and was on parole. He's been charged with two counts of vehicular manslaughter, one count of "Fleeing a Pursuing Peace Officer’s Motor Vehicle Causing Death", one count of felony hit-and-run, and one misdemeanor count of "Driving Without Owners Consent." Additional charges could be filed pending toxicology reports.
The police department says De La Cruz has a No Bail Warrant for a Parole Violation.