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Car chase lasts 80 minutes

CHP officers pursue driver 50 miles before his arrest in Gardena.

August 22, 2008|Tami Abdollah | Times Staff Writer

An 80-minute car chase through Los Angeles County ended Thursday morning with gunfire, beanbag rounds and a Taser gun being used on a driver who shot at officers in Gardena, authorities said.

No one was injured in the chase, which began at 2:50 a.m. in West Los Angeles and ended with the driver's arrest shortly after 4 a.m. in Gardena, said California Highway Patrol Officer Rick Quintero.

The incident began when CHP officers responded to a call of a white Honda blocking the road at Sawtelle and Pico boulevards. When officers arrived, the driver fled, traveling about 50 miles at excessive speeds through areas including Long Beach, Compton, West Los Angeles, downtown and Gardena, Quintero said.

While in Long Beach, the man was driving "in a reckless manner on the wrong side of the road into oncoming traffic," Quintero said. Officials decided it was not safe to continue pursuing him and backed off while a Los Angeles Police Department helicopter continued following him overhead.

In Gardena, the man cut through a Chevron gas station at Western and Rosecrans avenues, where at least six patrol cars "reengaged" the driver, Quintero said. An officer performed a pit maneuver, tapping the Honda, which then spun out of control.

As the driver continued to drive past officers in the opposite direction, he fired shots from a revolver, Quintero said.

"At some point, after he shoots at officers, officers return fire," Quintero said. "At some point, he threw his gun out of the vehicle."

Officers commanded the driver to get out of his car. When he didn't, officers shot at him with bean bag rounds. The man tried again to drive away, but officers boxed him in with their vehicles, approached the vehicle, shattered the driver's side window and fired a Taser at the man before taking him into custody, Quintero said.

The man was taken to Memorial Hospital of Gardena for medical clearance but was not injured or struck by any bullets, Quintero said.

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tami.abdollah@latimes.com

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