A reckless driver heading the wrong way on the northbound 5 Freeway nearly hit multiple commuters’ cars, and had already struck officer vehicles multiple times since the chase began in the San Fernando Valley area Friday night.
He was taken into custody shortly before 10 p.m., but not before he went on a rampage, hitting at least eight officer patrol units, multiple commuter cars, and shut down the entire Interstate 5.
The pursuit began shortly after 8 p.m. when officers said the driver was wanted for an assault with a deadly weapon on an officer.
At one point the driver turned the car in the officers’ direction and drove head-on toward the patrol units.
The driver reversed and crashed into an officer’s sedan early in the chase, and by the conclusion, had crashed into officers’ SUVs at least eight times.
He was seen waving what appeared to be a knife out the window, and continued driving erratically, weaving in and out of lanes, on Sunland Boulevard at 8:30 p.m.
By 8:50 p.m., he had begun driving on the traffic-riddled 5 Freeway heading south on the northbound side.
In a dangerous move, a driver left his own car and walked up to the window, apparently attempting to get the man to stop.
California Highway Patrol officers were doing traffic breaks on the southbound side, stopping traffic, so they could pursue the driver. They are not allowed to chase the driver in the wrong direction.
By 8:53 p.m., the driver became wedged in between cars.
Officers approached with guns drawn, and bean bag shots were fired.
Officers helped civilian drivers get out of their cars, and the driver was in a standoff with police at Buena Vista Street.
Meanwhile, miles and miles of traffic had stretched in both directions as the pursuit driver refused to leave the car.
At 10 p.m., the man finally agreed to leave the car after an hour, lying on the ground. He appeared to be playing possum, because he leapt up and tried to run.
Officers bolstered by a SWAT team fired rubber bullets, moved in and detained the man.
All northbound lanes of the freeway remained closed into Saturday morning as police gathered evidence at the scene of the crash. Traffic was being diverted along side streets. Southbound lanes were open.