At-Large Suspect an Anomaly in Police Pursuits, Data Shows

A man managed to evade officers for more than 24 hours after a Monday evening chase through Arleta and Pacoima

By Gordon Tokumatsu and Samantha Tata
|  Tuesday, Sep 11, 2012  |  Updated 10:54 PM PDT
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LAPD says about 6 percent of drivers who lead officers on pursuits escape on foot. On Monday, a man lead police on a chase for more than an hour before stopping in a dead-end alley in Pacoima, scaling several fences and disappearing. He still hadn't been found late Tuesday. Gordon Tokumatsu reports from Downtown LA for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Sept. 11, 2012.

Gordon Tokumatsu

LAPD says about 6 percent of drivers who lead officers on pursuits escape on foot. On Monday, a man lead police on a chase for more than an hour before stopping in a dead-end alley in Pacoima, scaling several fences and disappearing. He still hadn't been found late Tuesday. Gordon Tokumatsu reports from Downtown LA for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Sept. 11, 2012.

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All Quiet in Pacoima

A Pacoima neighborhood was the site of a search after a pursuit Monday. John Cadiz Klemack provides an update on Today in LA, Tuesday Sept. 11, 2012.

"Confusion" Surrounded Search for Pursuit Suspect

Police on Monday night said they still hadn't caught the man who evaded officers for several hours in his vehicle and then on foot. Gordon Tokumatsu reports from Pacoima for the NBC4 News at 11pm on Sept. 10, 2012.
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A man who led police on a chase from Claremont to Pacoima Monday afternoon was still at large more than 24 hours later, a situation that police say represents a sliver of chases that end with the suspect’s successful escape.

More often than not, police say, officers eventually take down a pursuit suspect.

About 6 percent of pursuit suspects escape the blaring squad cars, police and media helicopters and, sometimes, K-9 units, according to data that includes all California law enforcement agencies.

In 2010, there were 5,183 pursuits and of those, 341 suspects fled on foot and were not arrested.

Out of the 5,508 pursuits in 2011, 348 suspects escaped on foot. According to LAPD, that escape rate is “pretty good.”

Some notable pursuit suspects have tried to hide in plain sight.

In 2004, a man led police on a chase from Simi Valley to the Beverly Center in Hollywood where he disappeared among the shoppers before finally being caught. The next year, a pursuit suspect ditched his motorcycle at the Glendale Galleria and blended in with the crowd.

Monday’s pursuit suspect appeared to blend into the brush. The chase began at about 4:45 p.m. in the Arcadia area when the driver of a dark-colored truck failed to stop for officers as part of a narcotics investigation.

The driver barreled down freeways at times reaching speeds in excess of 80 mph before transitioning onto surface streets where he circled neighborhoods in Arleta and Pacoima for nearly an hour.

When he drove into a dead-end alley in Pacoima, the driver jumped out of the vehicle, scaled several fences and seemed to disappear among the trees in residents’ backyards.

By Tuesday afternoon, the man had managed to evade officers for more than 24 hours. Still, investigators say evidence left behind in the vehicle and two arrested passengers make them confident they’ll catch the driver.

A man and a woman jumped out of the moving truck during the pursuit and were subsequently arrested. The woman hopped out while the truck was travelling under a canopy of trees.

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