Beverly White, Eric Trujillo
Police chased a man driving a commercial van from the Whiteman Airport in Pacoima, through North Hollywood and into Burbank. He slammed into the rear of a sedan before rolling to a stop and surrendering to police. Beverly White reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Jan. 21, 2013.
Authorities on Monday night identified the driver of a commercial van involved in a police pursuit through Sun Valley and into Burbank, where the 52-year-old man surrendered and was taken into custody after colliding with a sedan.
Albert Stokes was arrested on suspicion of felony evading, said Officer Cleon Joseph with LAPD's Media Relations Section. Joseph said more charges are likely.
Police began pursuing the van at about 4:40 p.m. in Sun Valley.
"It started off with a radio call of a business owner telling us one of the employees, he believed, was impaired and shouldn't be driving, and took off in the van," said Cpt. Stephen Carmona, commanding officer at LAPD Foothill Division.
Burbank police Lt. Darin Ryburn said they received a call that a suspicious van was weaving through surface streets. The driver may have been under the influence, Ryburn said.
He said that the Los Angeles Police Department's Foothill Division was pursuing the vehicle, which advertised a solar company called American Solar Direct. The company later said that the driver was a service technician in a company-owned vehicle.
Aerial video showed the van blowing its front right tire out but continuing to move forward with several patrol cars behind it.
The van, which appeared to have two ladders attached to its roof, was winding through various streets in Burbank at a slightly elevated rate of speed.
Passing near Burbank High School, the van side-swiped several cars, and side mirrors flew across the roadway.
The van rear-ended a black Toyota sedan, which ended up in the front lawn of a home on Buena Vista Street (pictured below). Immediately after the collision, the van slowed down to a stop about 100 feet away. Pieces of the sedan littered the roadway.
"I saw the lights in my rear view mirror, lights from the ... police cars, so I had to pull over," said Nestorio Layumas, who was driving home after having coffee with friends. "It suddenly hit me. Just very, very sudden and very, very strong."
Officers approached the van with guns drawn.
The driver emerged from the van, which appeared to have a seriously damaged front end. Wearing jeans and long-sleeved shirt, the driver lay down in the street stretched spread-eagle.
Officers cuffed the man in the middle of the street. The driver appeared slightly unsteady on his feet.
The man's employer issued a statement about an hour after the chase ended, saying it was cooperating with authorities and that it was glad no one was seriously injured.
"Like others who saw today’s situation, we, too, were shocked by this driver’s actions," the American Solar Direct statement read. "We expect our employees to obey the law and conduct themselves to the highest professional standards."