POMONA (CBSLA) — A short pursuit ended in a crash which killed an innocent driver in a residential Pomona neighborhood Wednesday afternoon.
The collision occurred just before 4 p.m. at the intersection of San Antonio Avenue and Philadelphia Street.READ MORE: 'Absolutely Reckless': California Governor Slams Texas Move To Lift Mask Mandate
According to Pomona police, an officer was trying to stop a car for an unspecified code violation. When the suspect refused to pull over, a chase ensued.
A short time later, the driver slammed into a gray Honda Civic, the impact sending both cars careening into the front yard of a home. The innocent driver was left trapped in the car.
Los Angeles County firefighters responded and attempted to extract the trapped driver using the Jaws of Life. However, the driver died at the scene. He was identified Thursday as 26-year-old Rolando Pinto-Mendez, according to the L.A. County coroner’s office.
The suspect, meanwhile, ran from the crash, but was eventually caught about 30 minutes later. He was found about a half-mile from the crash site hiding in some bushes in the yard of another home, police said.
Detectives were seen swabbing the handlebars of a child’s bicycle near where the arrest was made.READ MORE: At Least 15 People Killed After SUV, Big-Rig Collide In Imperial County
“My dad was coming back, he was getting pizza, and he saw the guy, that was on the bike, go behind the house,” witness Paloma Ponce told CBSLA Wednesday.
The suspect was identified Thursday as 22-year-old Eli Richard Lopez. He was booked on charges of murder, grand theft auto, hit-and-run and evading a police officer.
Police would not disclose exactly what exactly triggered the pursuit or where it originated.
Pinto-Mendez’s family said he worked at an auto parts warehouse five minutes away and was driving home from work when the collision occurred. His uncle, Jose Ortega, said he’s heartbroken, but trying not to be angry.
“He was a tremendous part of our lives and we lost it yesterday. You can imagine the pain and suffering we’re going through. I can tell you there is no anger if anything. We’re here to celebrate his life,” Ortega said.
Pinto-Mendez’s father is currently in the hospital. He suffered a heart attack after learning his son was killed.MORE NEWS: Publication Ceases For 6 Dr. Seuss Books Due To 'Hurtful, Wrong' Portrayals Of Minorities
A GoFundMe page was created by Pinto-Mendez’s family and can be found here.