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Ventura Motorist Leads Police on Wild 60-Mile Chase to Hollywood : Pursuit: Mark Humphreys, 41, flashed peace sign to drivers, rammed a car and was shot at before finally stopping.

November 21, 1995|STEPHANIE BROMMER | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

A 41-year-old Ventura man, who flashed two-fingered peace signs to other motorists, led authorities on a 60-mile, high-speed chase Monday afternoon from Oak View to Hollywood with a brief detour in Ventura, where he rammed a Jaguar and was shot at by Ventura County sheriff's deputies.

After peacefully surrendering an hour later but refusing to lie prone for Los Angeles authorities, Mark Bristow Humphreys mysteriously said he led the chase because "I didn't have to stop."

Humphreys, who was returned Monday night to Ventura County for prosecution, was expected to be booked on suspicion of felony assault with a deadly weapon for smashing another car, felony evading arrest and reckless driving.

Driving a 1972 beige Oldsmobile sedan beginning at 4:10 p.m., Humphreys was traveling erratically at 80 m.p.h., making numerous lane changes on California 33, said Ventura County Sheriff's Senior Deputy Chuck Buttell.

A sheriff's patrol unit attempted to stop Humphreys, who allegedly refused to pull over, exiting the highway at Shell Road in Ventura and continuing down Ventura Avenue to eastbound Thompson Boulevard.

"He stopped for stop signs, was driving at 15 to 20 m.p.h. and was looking behind him in his rearview mirror," Buttell said. "He knew the cops were there."

Followed by several sheriff's deputies and Ventura police patrol cars, Humphreys reached the intersection of Thompson and Seaward Avenue, where motorist Stephanie Huffaker, 39, of Ventura, had stopped her Jaguar at a red light.

Two sheriff's deputies, whose names were not released by authorities, got out of their car and approached Humphreys, who continued to refuse to leave his car, said Ventura Police Lt. Steve Bowman.

The deputy on the driver's side of Humphreys' car smashed the left front window with a wooden baton, causing Humphreys to accelerate forward, ramming the rear of Huffaker's car and forcing her vehicle into the intersection, Bowman said.

Huffaker complained of neck pain but did not require medical aid. Her 8-month-old son, who was riding in an infant seat in the back of the car, was uninjured.

Meanwhile, the deputy on the right side of Humphreys' car "felt in imminent danger and fired one round at the suspect," Buttell said.

Uninjured, Humphreys turned southbound on Seaward Avenue, westbound on Harbor Boulevard and entered the southbound Ventura Freeway.

Three sheriff's patrol cars and a Sheriff's Department helicopter followed Humphreys until three California Highway Patrol vehicles took over the pursuit near Camarillo.

The pursuit, at speeds of up to 100 m.p.h., continued on the Ventura Freeway until Humphreys, who CHP officers said had been flashing peace signs to motorists he passed, exited at Vine Street in Hollywood.

At 5:17 p.m., after driving around the Capitol Records building parking lot and returning to Vine Street, Humphreys stopped in the roadway south of Yucca Street, said CHP Officer Kerri Hawkins.

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