A California Highway Patrol cruiser
A California Highway Patrol cruiser. Photo by Chris Stone

A motorist led police on a three-hour pursuit Thursday that stretched from Culver City to Oceanside, where the man stopped alongside Interstate 5 and holed up inside his battered Honda Civic for about 45 minutes before being arrested.

The chase originated around 10:50 a.m. near Sepulveda and Washington boulevards in Culver City, where police tried to pull over the suspect and his damaged red Civic for vehicle code violations, according to Culver City police Lt. Troy Dunlap. The vehicle had a broken rear window, Dunlap said.

Culver City Police pursued the suspect initially, but broke off the chase before being informed minutes later by Los Angeles Police that the suspect had struck a person on a motorized scooter in the Playa del Rey area, Dunlap said. Culver City Police re-entered the chase, but Los Angeles Police eventually took over the pursuit.

Los Angeles Fire Department officials said the scooter rider who was struck in the 7800 block of West Manchester Avenue was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The impact, however, smashed the front windshield of the suspect’s car.

The chase continued at relatively slow speeds on Westchester-area streets. Police tried four times to stop the vehicle using PIT maneuvers, each time spinning the car around, but the motorist was able to drive away and elude capture. The Honda lost a rear bumper during the fourth PIT maneuver.

After the final PIT attempt, the suspect picked up speed and got on southbound Interstate 405, driving through Orange County and into San Diego County near Oceanside, where the suspect pulled to a stop alongside the freeway around 1:30 p.m. — apparently after running out of gas.

Despite coming to a stop, the suspect refused to immediately come out of the vehicle, although he opening the car door at least twice. Around 2:15 p.m., the suspect opened the door and partially stepped out, at which point a police dog was deployed and officers fired two bean bag rounds, one of which hit the suspect in the face. The man was also bitten by the police dog.

Officers swarmed the car and took the suspect — identified by the California Highway Patrol as 34-year-old Karl Flores — into custody. Flores’ hometown was not immediately available.

California Highway Patrol officials said Flores was belligerent toward officers during the freeway standoff and refused to obey commands to exit the vehicle. According to the CHP, officers were in contact with Flores’ wife during the standoff, and she said he had served in the military and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Southbound Interstate 5 was closed during the standoff, stranding thousands of motorists.

–City News Service

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