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Pursuit Suspect Pleads Not Guilty To Attempted Murder Of Peace Officer

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

VAN NUYS (CBSLA.com) — A pursuit suspect has pleaded not guilty to trying to kill a peace officer for taking a U-turn and allegedly driving toward a California Highway Patrol officer.

James Anthony Vazquez, 40, of North Hollywood, appeared in court Wednesday on charges of attempted murder, two counts each of assault with a deadly weapon and evading an officer.

Vazquez is scheduled to return to court Sept. 9.

The pursuit began Monday about 8:35 a.m. when CHP officers tried to stop Vazquez for speeding on the eastbound Ventura (101) Freeway in Agoura Hills, prosecutors said. According to the CHP, the black Ford Explorer with paper plates was going more than 100 mph near Reyes Adobe Road.

At one point in the chase, Vazquez allegedly changed the vehicle’s license plate.

CHP officers temporarily lost the SUV, but an LAPD officer in a helicopter picked it out and the chase resumed on surface streets and the 101 Freeway.

The chase ended when Vazquez exited the freeway at Reseda Boulevard and crashed in an underpass about 9:20 a.m. Monday. When he did not immediately follow orders, several officers pulled him out of the SUV through the driver’s side window.

Vazquez faces more than 21 years to life in state prison if convicted as charged, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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