A Pacoima man suspected of having pistol-whipped another motorist was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon Sunday after a tow-truck driver chased him along the Foothill Freeway at speeds up to 100 m.p.h.
Los Angeles police said tow-truck operator Chuck Chase, 34, was answering a routine call in the neighborhood when he saw Daniel Mullen Jr., 34, of Sylmar, standing in the street in the 14000 block of Foothill Boulevard, bleeding from the back of the head.
Mullen told investigators he had swerved to miss a dog in the street and crashed his pickup truck into a parked BMW belonging to Theodore Edmund, 33.
Not knowing whom the parked car belonged to, Mullen said, he walked to a nearby telephone to notify police and call a tow truck for his own vehicle. When he returned to the scene of the accident, he said, Edmund had come out of a nearby apartment complex and was surveying the damage to his car.
Witnesses said Edmund shouted at Mullen and then stalked back into the apartment, emerging with a .45-caliber revolver, which he pointed at Mullen in a threatening manner. The witnesses told police that Edmund fired a shot into the air and then apparently struck Mullen on the back of the head with the weapon, causing the revolver to fire a second shot. Police said no one appeared to have been struck by either shot, but when Chase arrived--answering Mullen's call--he found his prospective client bloody and dazed.
"He comes up to me and says, 'I think I just got shot in the back of my head,' " Chase said. "And so he pointed the guy out, and the guy walked into his apartment and then came back out and got into another car."
Chase got back in his tow truck and began to follow, contacting his dispatcher, who relayed information to police. Sgt. Ken Dionne said Chase followed Edmund onto the eastbound lanes of California 118 and kept the car in sight as it turned onto the Foothill Freeway, directing a patrol car that joined the pursuit and finally intercepted Edmund on the freeway at Paxton Street in Pacoima.
No firearm was found in the car and Edmund was later released on $12,000 bail.
Mullen was treated at a hospital for head lacerations.