SYLMAR (CBSLA) — Traffic was finally moving again in the Newhall Pass Friday after a wild chase and officer-involved shooting shut down both sides of the 5 Freeway between the 210 and the 14 freeways for hours overnight.
The final closure – the southbound 5 Freeway connecter to the eastbound 210 Freeway, where police were on the scene for the officer-involved shooting investigation well into the morning commute — was reopened as of Friday afternoon. All other freeway closures around the shooting scene were reopened by 5 a.m.
Michael Acosta was coming from Bakersfield, trying to get to work in Pasadena, when he got caught in the backup from the full 5 Freeway closure. He was stuck in traffic for so long, his transmission broke down and he had to get towed off the freeway.
That’s when he saw what caused the backup.
“I was amazed, just watching the footage on my phone, just hearing the chopper guy talking about this guy running on the street,” Acosta said. “This guy was out in the street, playing frogger out here.”
A police pursuit had ended on the freeway connector road with the suspect running into oncoming traffic, getting clipped by a car and being shot in the leg by a police officer. The chase started in Palmdale after officers tried to stop the car on suspicion of driving under the influence.
Investigators say the suspect crashed into a fence at a Lockheed Martin facility and fired shots at patrol vehicles and the police helicopter before leading the chase onto the freeway. Police deployed spike strips twice, but the driver continued with flattened tires, throwing up sparks during the chase.
After pulling over on the freeway, the suspect tried to run away with a TEC-9 assault weapon-type pistol, prompting officers to open fire. The vehicle, which the suspect abandoned on the freeway at the end of the chase, came back as reported stolen.
The suspect was taken to a hospital and was listed in fair condition. He suffered a single gunshot wound to the leg.
A second suspect who was in the car was also arrested. A second handgun was recovered in the suspect’s car.
A deputy was also struck by a car and was taken to a hospital in good condition.