100-Mile Calif. chase of ends with 3 arrests
Ashley Powers, Times Staff Writer
Copyright 2005 Los Angeles Times
Three burglary suspects fleeing a crime scene near Lancaster led police on a two-hour chase Wednesday that spanned 100 miles, crossed three counties and included an attempted carjacking and a tense standoff, authorities said.
Hugo Nelson De La Cruz Perez, 22, and Natalie Morris, 18, both of Lancaster, surrendered to California Highway Patrol officers in Murrieta in southwest Riverside County. A 16-year-old boy from Lake Los Angeles tumbled out of the car on Interstate 15 near Lake Elsinore during the pursuit and was taken into custody.
During the pursuit, officers believed that the trio was armed but later found only stereo equipment, a telescope and a small bag of coins in the car, authorities said.
The three were arrested on suspicion of burglary and evading arrest and taken to the Los Angeles County sheriff's station in Lancaster, according to Lt. Ed Stewart.
The chase began about 10:30 a.m. when Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies responded to a report of a residential burglary in Lake Los Angeles, an unincorporated area east of Lancaster. When the deputies arrived, the suspects fled in a 1995 gray Toyota Corolla.
The three suspects are being investigated in connection with 25 to 30 area burglaries in which many handguns and shotguns were stolen, said Los Angeles County Sheriff's Lt. Wallace Fullerton.
During the chase, deputies tailed the car -- racing between 75 and 90 mph -- east on Highway 138. The Corolla sped into San Bernardino County, where the Sheriff's Department lost communication with its units, and the California Highway Patrol picked up the chase as it veered south to Riverside County.
About 11:50 a.m., the Corolla was approaching Lake Elsinore when a spike strip placed on the highway's right shoulder punctured the car's right front tire. The car slowed, and the 16-year-old leapt from the vehicle.
Soon after, the two other suspects pulled off Interstate 15 at Bundy Canyon Road near Wildomar and stopped at an intersection, where patrol cars surrounded them.
Authorities said the driver jumped out of the Corolla and tried to carjack another vehicle, which sped away. The suspect ran back into the Corolla and rammed at least two patrol vehicles before heading into Murrieta, said Sgt. John Sellers of the CHP's Temecula office.
Officers placed two spike strips on residential streets, taking out the Corolla's right rear tire.
Patrol cars finally pinned the Corolla on Washington Avenue about 12:15 p.m., setting up a 28-minute standoff.
At one point, police asked Morris to raise her hands if Perez was armed. She did.
Later on, police thought Morris was going to leave the car and instead Perez kissed Morris, Sellers said.
Murrieta police twice fired pepperballs into the Corolla.
About 12:45 p.m., the pair came out with their hands up and were arrested.
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