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Police Arrest 2 Men After High-Speed Chase in Reseda


RESEDA — Two men wanted on parole violations led police on a high-speed chase Wednesday that wound around the same block three times before the men collided with another car and crashed into a fire hydrant, authorities said.

The chase began about 7:45 a.m. when Los Angeles Police Officer Ken Knox saw a man he recognized as a wanted felon outside an apartment building in the 17700 block of Sherman Way, Police Sgt. Roger Ferguson said. The man, later identified as Thomas James West of Sylmar, fled, Ferguson said. Knox and his partner then gave chase.

They spotted West behind the wheel of a pickup truck--later identified as stolen--with a passenger at Sherman Way and Jamieson Avenue, Ferguson said. West ran a stop sign, ignored the police car's siren and red lights, and led police on a 70 m.p.h chase around circles formed by Sherman Way, Zelzah, Lindley and Hesperia avenues and Saticoy Street, Ferguson said.

West collided with a car carrying a mother and her child as he ran a signal at Hesperia Avenue and Saticoy Street, Ferguson said. The pickup truck struck a fire hydrant on the northwest corner and flipped over.

Police arrested West and John Vanbooven, who also was wanted on parole violations, Ferguson said.

All the crash victims were treated at Northridge Hospital Medical Center for minor injuries, Ferguson said.

Police described West and Vanbooven as career criminals and expressed interest in seeing how they will fare under the three-day old "three strikes and you're out" law. "This guy doesn't have two or three strikes against him, he's got 20 or 30," Ferguson said, referring to West's criminal record.

West was booked on suspicion of felony evading, hit-and-run and drunken driving because police believe that he was under the influence of a controlled substance at the time of the arrest.

Vanbooven was arrested on a parole violation. Both were held without bail at Van Nuys Jail, Ferguson said.

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