LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — That wild chase in Tempe, Ariz., on Wednesday that ended in one car flipping and another lost in a cloud of dust had a local connection.
The driver being pursued by authorities was a self-described local actor and model.
KCAL9’s Crystal Cruz introduces us to Mitchell Taebel — he comments about the chase and his 15 minutes of fame. From an Arizona jail.
Taebel is currently studying film at a college in Arizona.
Cruz reports he’s definitely earned his 15 minutes, but for all the wrong reasons.
The driver while fleeing at a high rate of speed, clips a car, rolls and miraculously walks away alive.
“Do you guys know who I am?” he’s heard saying on cellphone video.
The video shows Taebel try to walk away from the crash, but witnesses turn him in.
Wearing a jailhouse jumpsuit and handcuffs, the 31-year-old told Arizona reporters he initially didn’t stop because the cop car looked shady.
“It was an old beaten Crown Royal, and I just had funny vibes about it. I wasn’t going to stop for the guy because there was no traffic violation,” Taebel says.
According to officers, Taebel made an unsafe lane change, refused to pull over and said it would be lawful to take an officer’s life to preserve his freedom.
He even called 911 during the chase.
“I said to the police twice and I said to the mayor, I don’t want to jeopardize anyone’s safety. They’re making an unreasonable unlawful stop. I just stopping to get gas, and they attacked my vehicle and bumped into it,” he said.
Court documents list a downtown Los Angeles apartment complex as Taebel’s home, but management didn’t recognize his name.
His Facebook page is full of modeling and acting photos. If he had an IMDB.com page, it has been taken down.
From headshot to mugshot, a far-different looking Taebel accused of pulling a stunt usually seen in movies.
The woman in the SUV Taebel slammed into survived.
Taebel’s attorney told reporters his clients has mental health issues.
He’s also reportedly had run ins with the law in New York and Nevada.