PALMDALE (CBSLA) — The chase started in Palmdale but it could have started in the active imagination of a fiction writer.
Wednesday’s wild and crazy pursuit — that started in Palmdale and ended with the suspect driving into a small ditch — was easily one of the most memorable in many years.
At moments, it was more Hollywood movie than Los Angeles pursuit.
There was off and on road driving, speeding, clouds of dust driving through the desert, an armed carjacking (caught on camera, no less), the suspect brazenly toying with authorities and if playing cat-and-mouse with officials wasn’t enough, at one point the suspect doubled-back while being chased on foot and jumped into an unoccupied CHP vehicle and commandeered it.
Authorities on Thursday said the suspect — now in custody — has an extensive rap sheet.
As CBS2/KCAL9’s Greg Mills reports the rap sheet is going to end up getting a lot longer. The episode ended when 29-year old Juan Jose Galvez was taken into custody.
His accomplice — 28-year-old Maria Theresa Lopez was also taken into custody. She spent several hours hiding in the desert and evading police.
Authorities say earlier in the day, Sheriff’s deputies saw Galvez driving erratically. They figured he was a reckless DUI suspect which gives them a green light for a pursuit if the driver does not pull over.
Sky2 was first overhead to watch as Galvez continued to speed in an effort to evade authorities. Stu Mundel was also overhead when Galvez drove past Christopher Huth who was in his pickup truck.
“He yells out his window “they’re trying to kill me,'” Huth says.
Within seconds, Huth says he had a gun in his face.
“He was out of his car with a pistol held sideways right at my face,” Huth says.
Galvez and Lopez continued on in Huth’s carjacked pickup at times racing in excess of 100 miles per hour.
At one point, Galvez lost control making a turn and the truck slammed into the banks of a dry riverbed. The truck got banged up. So apparently did the two suspects.
“There were injuries sustained by both the driver and the passenger,” said CHP Officer Monique Micheaux.
Galvez gave Lopez a hug and then fled on foot. She was able to evade capture for several hours. Authorities said she was hiding in the desert.
Galvez double-backed to where CHP officers had followed him. He jumped into a CHP cruiser — with the keys inside — and drove off.
The CHP was understandably upset about Galvez being able to steal one of their vehicl
“It was just an oversight on his part,” says Sgt. Charles Murray with the CHP.
The chase was on — again. And Galvez sped on dirt roads and created clouds of dust.
Another officer told Mills, off camera, that the officer who was assigned to the car that got stolen could be in big trouble.
The end came when Galvez drove the truck over a small ditch. The truck became disabled, he got out and surrendered.
Lopez is facing one charge, Galvez is facing a several others. Arraignment for Galvez is set for Friday.