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2 Suspects Caught After Chase In, Out of County

June 24, 1989|KEVIN O'LEARY | Times Staff Writer

Two escaped convicts from Michigan led law enforcement officers on a 220-mile chase from Bakersfield through Orange County to San Pedro before their car, reportedly stolen, ran out of gas Friday.

Christopher Kaser, 22, of Michigan and Kevin Killingsworth, 29, of Virginia were captured after the 3-hour chase ended about 3 a.m., said Rick Odom, a CHP spokesman in Bakersfield.

It all began just before midnight when authorities received a call that a black Cadillac had been stolen from a man as he was filling his tank at a service station on Interstate 5, about 20 miles from Bakersfield.

Threw Debris at Officers

CHP officers spotted the Cadillac about 12:10 a.m. and tried to pull it over, but after the patrol car slowed down to 15 m.p.h., "the (suspects') vehicle accelerated away and the passenger stood up through the sun roof and began to throw bottles and debris at the officers," Odom said.

The suspects then drove south on Interstate 5 at speeds of up to 120 m.p.h., with three CHP cars and a Kern County Sheriff's Department helicopter in pursuit.

At the Grapevine area of Interstate 5, the Ft. Tejon office of the CHP took up the chase, which continued into Los Angeles and Orange counties. CHP officers joined the pursuit at various points.

"The officers that work each area are more familiar with those freeways, on-ramps and surface streets, and can handle a high-speed chase with more safety," Odom explained.

Jurisdictions that assisted were Newhall, West Valley, Verdugo Hills, Central and East Los Angeles, Santa Fe Springs, Santa Ana and San Juan Capistrano.

As the pursuit turned north from Interstate 5 onto Coast Highway, police departments in Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Signal Hill, Long Beach and Los Angeles took turns pursuing the two suspects, Odom said.

Not a Movie Chase

"This isn't a Hollywood movie where you can catch up to the vehicle, tap the bumper and have the suspects pull over safely," Los Angeles Police Lt. Richard Gonzales said. Trying to force the suspects to pull over could "endanger not only the suspects and officers, but innocent citizens and pedestrians," Gonzales said.

The suspects finally stopped at Grand Avenue and 14th Street in San Pedro. They were taken back to Bakersfield where they were booked for vehicle theft, possession of stolen property, assault with a deadly weapon (throwing the bottles) and evading arrest.

Kaser and Killingsworth were being held in the Kern County Jail.

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