WESTMINSTER (CBSLA.com) — A Santa Ana man has been arrested on suspicion of leading authorities on a pursuit that killed a 12-year-old girl and injured two others.
Aleksandar Apostoloic, 26, was found hiding in a backyard and arrested shortly after midnight, more than six hours after he led officers on a chase, officials said.
He was booked on charges of murder, felony evasion and assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer, Westminster police said.
Police confronted Apostoloic, who was wanted for weapons violations and narcotics trafficking, around 6 p.m. Thursday during a traffic stop near Sigler Park in Westminster.
“When officers attempted to make contact in the area of Olive Street and Plaza Street, the suspect intentionally crashed into a marked patrol vehicle and fled,” Sgt. Cameron Knauerhaze said.
Officers were then led on a short pursuit that ended when Apostoloic’s black Chevy Suburban broadsided a minivan, fatally wounding a girl and injuring her mother and 13-year-old brother.
Vivian Nguyen, a student at Johnson Middle School, died shortly after the crash at UCI Medical Center in Orange.
“This is a heartbreaking loss for our school and community. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family. Counselors will be on-site to help our students and staff cope with this tragedy,” Principal Andre Illig said.
The conditions of the other victims in the van were not immediately known.
The Suburban also collided with another vehicle before it overturned, with the suspect fleeing the scene on foot into a nearby neighborhood.
Police officers, a helicopter and a K-9 unit conducted an unsuccessful yard-to-yard search for Apostoloic that lasted about two hours.
“At 11:55 p.m., a resident in the area of Chestnut and Brooklawn St. called about an unknown male that was inside her home and had just fled out the back door,” Sgt. Knauerhaze said.
Police responded to the scene and found Apostoloic hiding in a backyard near the intersection of Brooklawn and Illinois Street.
He was arrested without incident.