Stolen Big Rig Overnight Pursuit Ends With Standoff in Santa Ana

By City News Service
City News Service
City News Service
November 4, 2021 Updated: November 4, 2021

SANTA ANA, Calif.—A more than 12-hour police pursuit and standoff with a man in a stolen big rig came to an end Thursday morning, Nov. 4, with hundreds of thousands of motorists frustrated during the morning rush hour on the Garden Grove (55) Freeway in Santa Ana.

After a chase that began in East Los Angeles around 8:15 p.m. Wednesday, the suspect in the stolen rig came to a stop on the southbound 55 Freeway at MacArthur Boulevard around 4 a.m. the next morning.

However, the driver refused to exit the vehicle, prompting a standoff that lasted about 4.5 hours and forced the closure of the freeway.

The suspect was finally taken into custody around 8:30 a.m. But the damage was already done for commuters, who clogged city streets for miles while scrambling to find alternate routes through the area.

The rig was stolen around 8:14 p.m. Wednesday from a food service lot at Fifth and Indiana streets in East Los Angeles, said Patrick Kimball, spokesperson of California Highway Patrol (CHP).

An employee of Individual Food Service, a Bell-based food service company, called police to report the tractor trailer he was driving was stolen.

CHP pursued the driver via helicopter and with vehicle patrols, and the suspect was slowed down on the 118 and 101 freeways by spike strips multiple times.

Yet he did not stop despite the blowouts on the rig’s front and back tires, Kimball said. At least two of the 18-wheeler’s tires were blown completely off the rig.

Just before 11 p.m. three additional attempts with the spike strips were used to no avail, Kimball said.

With the truck running primarily on damaged rims, the suspect came to a halt on the 55 Freeway at about 4 a.m., beginning the standoff that forced the freeway closure.

Police backed an armored vehicle up to the truck’s cab to pin the suspect in place, but he still refused to exit the vehicle.

After hours of negotiations, the suspect appeared to surrender without incident. His name was not immediately released.