Police: LAUSD Gym Teacher's Pursuit Crash May Have Been Intentional

Kip Richard Arnold wanted on suspicion of child abuse, say police

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Bell Police detectives claim child abuse suspect Kip Arnold was attempting to end his life when he drove his vehicle off an embankment and into a Rolling Hills Estates office building Tuesday afternoon. The physical education teacher was under investigation for alleged child molestation when he led police on a dramatic chase. Gordon Tokumatsu reports from Downtown Los Angeles for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on July 11, 2012. (Published Wednesday, Jul 11, 2012)

    Police told NBC4 that the physical education teacher from Southeast Middle School wanted on suspicion of child abuse may have intentionally driven his pickup truck off a cliff during a police pursuit Tuesday

    Bell Police Department Detective Tony Lopez says based on his statements, Kip Richard Arnold was likely trying to kill himself.

    "When we first made contact with him in the city of Lakewood, he stated to us that he was suicidal and that he knew why we were there," Lopez said.

    Arnold, 51, remained hospitalized Wednesday after leading police on a pursuit that ended with his vehicle veering off the road, down a hill and through a patio at a Rolling Hills Estates office building.

    "As far as we know, they ran some tests. He's stable. He's currently in the ER. They're still conducting some tests on him," said Lopez said.

    Arnold was extricated Tuesday from his pickup truck, which was flipped sideways next to an office building, according to police. He was taken from the scene of the crash in an ambulance.

    "Once he's released, he'll be arrested and he'll be taken to the county jail," Lopez said.

    Arnold (pictured, below) was wanted on suspicion of lewd behavior with a former student who was 16 years old at the time, according to the Los Angeles Unified School District.

    The pursuit started Tuesday when officers, who were surveilling the man, initiated a traffic stop.

    "When we first made contact with him in the city of Lakewood, he stated to us that he was suicidal and that he knew why we were there for him," Lopez said.

    He then sped off, prompting a chase that wound through South Los Angeles before ending with the crash, police said.

    In addition to teaching at Southeast Middle School, Arnold previously worked at Nimitz Middle School, Gage Middle School and Orchard Academies 2B, according to the school district, which indicated there may be more alleged victims.

    "Just due to the nature of the crime, him being a school teacher, him being around children. At this point, we don't know if there's other victims," Lopez said. "Any case that when you have a lot of time that goes by, it becomes difficult, but we have enough evidence we can take to the DA and show them that this crime did occur."

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    View Location of pursuit-ending crash in a larger map