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Chase Leads to Arrest in Freeway Shooting

July 22, 1987|GABE FUENTES | Times Staff Writer

Angered when the driver of a pickup truck shot at her car after a tailgating incident on the Hollywood Freeway, a Northridge woman chased the pickup for 10 miles early Tuesday, then gave authorities information that resulted in the driver's arrest, police said.

Carol Ann Fayne, 45, chased the pickup in her sports car through the San Fernando Valley and reported the license number to police, who used it to trace and arrest Lewis L. Meeks, 33, of Sylmar on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, Lt. Bernard D. Conine said.

Neither Fayne nor her passenger, Mike Smith, 36, of Northridge, was wounded in the incident, the fifth traffic-related shooting in the Los Angeles area in as many weeks.

Fayne said in an interview that she pursued the pickup at speeds of up to 100 m.p.h. because, "I guess, justice."

"I wanted him to be captured," she said.

The chase started on the northbound Hollywood Freeway near the junction with the Golden State Freeway in Sun Valley, she said.

Truck Found

Meeks "admits to being at that location at a different time in the evening, earlier, and denies being involved in the shooting," Conine said. The truck described by Fayne was found parked outside Meeks' Sylmar home, where he was arrested Tuesday afternoon, but detectives found no gun in it, Conine said.

Meeks was being held at Foothill Division jail in Pacoima in lieu of $12,000 bail, police said.

Fayne said she thought the weapon was a cap gun until the chase was over, and police found a bullet hole in the right rear fender of her black Nissan 280ZX near the gas tank.

"I just leaned against the cop car and said, 'I don't believe it happened to me,' " Fayne said. " . . . I didn't know what the hell I was doing."

Her real fear during the incident, she said, was that she might become involved in a traffic accident.

Fayne and Smith were returning from a movie in Universal City about midnight when the truck approached and began tailgating their car on the Hollywood Freeway south of Roscoe Boulevard, Fayne said. The car was in the lane to the right of the fast lane as the pickup began flashing its headlights, then pulled alongside the car on the right, she said.

"I just figured he could go around me," Fayne said. "He came around me all right, and he shot at me."

As the two vehicles were traveling side by side, Fayne said, Smith traded obscenities with the pickup driver.

Fayne said she heard the first shot as the vehicles began traveling north on the Golden State Freeway.

"My heart jumped," Fayne said. "But I thought it was really a cap gun. It was just a pop."

Noise Heard

Moments later, a second shot apparently was fired. Fayne said she heard a noise and thought a beer bottle, not a bullet, had struck her car.

Several miles later, after the chase had moved onto the eastbound Simi Valley Freeway and then onto the westbound Foothill Freeway, Fayne said, she heard a third shot.

Both vehicles got off the Foothill Freeway at Maclay Avenue in Sylmar, and the chase continued briefly on side streets as the pickup driver threw beer cans and lighted cigarettes at the sports car, Fayne said. She said they stopped following the truck as soon as Smith was able to write down the license number.

Conine said Fayne's chase was an act that "takes a certain amount of courage." Only one bullet hole was found in her car, and no bullets were recovered, he said.

"It was wise of her not to continue following him after she got the license number," the police official said.

In similar incidents on Los Angeles County freeways since June 18, one man was killed and two were wounded.

Waved at Woman

One of the five shootings, which was previously unreported, involved a motorcyclist who waved to a woman motorist and then was chased by a second car June 18 on the Antelope Valley Freeway near Newhall, authorities said Tuesday.

The driver of the second vehicle fired three shots at the motorcyclist at an off-ramp of the freeway, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy Jerry Johnson said.

A Canyon Country man was later charged with assault with a deadly weapon after another driver wrote down his license number, the deputy said. The motorcyclist was not hurt.

The woman kept on driving after the incident and investigators could not determine whether there was any connection between her and the man who was arrested.

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