California Highway Patrol pursued a “big rig” truck in a bizarre three-hour chase that eventually ended with the driver surrendering as large audiences followed online.
You can watch video of the pursuit above as it unfolded live.
The strange pursuit attracted an international audience as authorities calmly followed the 18-wheeler, hesitant to act because its company deals in hazardous materials. However, after hours, the driver stopped in a parking lot, fell to his knees, and surrendered.
A freelance reporter had written earlier on Twitter, “18-wheeler in Riverside leading police on a high speed chase. Truck company hauls hazardous materials, including nuclear material.”
However, at times, the unidentified driver almost seemed to be taking his time as he drove at regular speeds and, when he surrendered, he parked the truck in a lot in an orderly fashion.
A Los Angeles Times reporter, Joe Serna, wrote on Twitter, “Big rig driver emerged from hotel room this a.m. to find his truck gone. Thief disabled primary GPS device but a 2nd was on board.” He also tweeted, “Company president says material in trailer is NOT: explosive, flammable, acidic, biologic or radioactive. Or worth any $$.” Serna wrote on the Los Angeles Times website that the truck was carrying “material that does not meet the definition of hazardous waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.”
KABC-TV reported that the truck was stolen, writing, “A driver in a reportedly stolen semi-truck led California Highway Patrol officers on a high-speed chase across the Inland Empire today.” At one point, the truck made a U-turn in the bizarre September 13 chase.
The Los Angeles Times reported that the driver told officers on the phone that he didn’t pull over because he doesn’t want to “go back to jail,” according to the California Highway Patrol.
The big rig reached speeds of up to 70 miles per hour, said KABC. However, it often seemed to be casually driving along at regular speeds, sparking one anchor to refer to the chase as a “joy ride.”
Act Enviro, a company based in Sunnyvale, California, released a bulletin on its website that says, “IMPORTANT BULLETIN: One of our trucks was stolen last night in Southern California. We have tracked it and law enforcement is in pursuit. We have been working with all relevant authorities and will continue to do so. We will provide more information as it becomes available.”
On its website, the company describes itself as “finding and delivering solutions that handle harmful wastes in the safest, most environmentally-friendly ways.”
People zoomed in on an attempt to try to see the driver:
In the live broadcast, the FOX 10 anchor said there are many variables when dealing with an 18-wheeler pursuit. “The suspect is on the run, is evading police,” the anchor said, adding that the pursuit started in Apple Valley and had moved into Yucca Valley and had been going on for more than three hours.
Fox 10 also said the rig might be containing hazardous materials, so police are being cautious because they don’t want the 18-wheeler to crash.
One man said the driver was yelling obscenities:
Los Angeles television stations were also broadcasting the chase live and said the truck had 200 gallon gas tanks.
Fox 11 Los Angeles’ anchor said the incident started at 10:30 a.m. and that it was not a high-speed pursuit but that the truck was driving through populated areas, calling it an “orderly” high speed pursuit and adding that the driver was “being very careful.”
The California Highway Patrol was also tracking the big rig by airplane:
What’s inside the big rig? Fox 11 Los Angeles said that’s not clear. Some people were watching the big rig chase from the side of the road.
The pursuit attracted viewers from around the world, with some writing that it felt like a movie.