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Two Men Suspected of Car Theft Strike Pickup, Injuring 3 People

January 21, 1987

Two young men suspected of stealing a car collided with another vehicle in downtown Laguna Beach on Tuesday, just as a police officer had abandoned his pursuit because of danger to pedestrians.

The driver of the allegedly stolen car, Lance M. Sobszak, 19, of Illinois, and his passenger, Risden Talbert, 18, of Laguna Beach, were arrested on suspicion of car theft, said Sgt. Don Barney. Sobszak also was arrested on an outstanding Illinois warrant for burglary, he said.

The two were spotted about 2:50 p.m. by a Laguna Beach officer who had heard an Orange County Sheriff's Department radio broadcast about a 1986 black Nissan 300ZX stolen in Laguna Niguel, Barney said. The officer turned on his siren and began pursuing the car, which then sped off, narrowly missing a pedestrian, he said. The officer decided to abandon the pursuit because of the heavy pedestrian traffic, and seconds later the suspects' car rounded a corner and collided with a pickup truck at Beach Street and Broadway, he said.

The driver of the truck, Florian Iova, 43, of Garden Grove, suffered forehead, neck and knee injuries and was taken to South Coast Medical Center. Sobszak sustained injuries to his knees, head and neck and his passenger suffered back, leg, head and hand injuries. The suspects also were taken to South Coast Medical Center.

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