Man dies after jumping out of moving police cruiser on California freeway

Published: Mar. 29, 2023 at 1:29 PM EDT
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LOS ANGELES (KCAL/KCBS) - A man accused of stealing a California Highway Patrol cruiser has died.

Police say he jumped from the car during a chase along a major freeway on Tuesday.

New video shows the moment a reckless driving suspect steals a California Highway Patrol cruiser. The officer runs after the suspect on the 5 Freeway in Castaic.

The video was posted on a Twitter feed that covers the Santa Clarita Valley, and the high-speed chase that followed ended 30 miles away in Antelope Acres near Lancaster.

The California Highway Patrol used a spike strip in an attempt to end the pursuit. It shredded the tread off rear tire, and within seconds, the suspect opened the door and jumped from the vehicle.

The video is paused before the pursuit takes that unexpected and deadly turn, with the driver jumping ultimately to his death while traveling at 45 mph.

“For unknown reasons the driver of the patrol vehicle jumped and suffered major injuries. Personnel on scene performed life saving measures, and the driver was transported to Antelope Valley Hospital, where he was pronounced deceased,” said California Highway Patrol Officer Alec Pereyda.

The California Highway Patrol is investigating what exactly caused the driver to open the door and jump onto the road.

Utility crews are also working to repair the power pole the cruiser mowed down after it drifted off the road without a driver behind the wheel.

Investigators said the suspect hit another car earlier and stole the cruiser while the officer was responding to the crash, meaning, it was unlocked at the time.

“It is standard procedure that the vehicle is running as well as locked. I do not know what happened in this circumstance, but it is standard procedure,” Pereyda said.