Police Pursuit of Rogue Tow Truck Driver Wanted on Suspicion of Fighting With Officer Ends

The pursuit started around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday and wound through the San Fernando Valley

By Samantha Tata and Robert Kovacik
|  Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012  |  Updated 8:30 AM PDT
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Ambartsum Sarkisyan, 31, was booked Tuesday, April 24, for assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer after surrendering himself to following a two-hour pursuit through the San Fernando Valley and Hollywood. Sarkisyan spoke exclusively with NBC4 during the chase while stopped at a traffic light. Robert Kovacik reports from outside the suspect's home in Van Nuys for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on April 24, 2012.

Robert Kovacik & Sean Browning

Ambartsum Sarkisyan, 31, was booked Tuesday, April 24, for assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer after surrendering himself to following a two-hour pursuit through the San Fernando Valley and Hollywood. Sarkisyan spoke exclusively with NBC4 during the chase while stopped at a traffic light. Robert Kovacik reports from outside the suspect's home in Van Nuys for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on April 24, 2012.

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Pursuit Suspects Talks with NBC4 at a Stop Light

A pursuit suspect talks with NBC4 at a stoplight during a 2-hour chase that wound through Van Nuys, Hollywood and ended in Glendale Tuesday, April 24, 2012. Robert Kovacik reports from inside the news van on Cahuenga Pass for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m.
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Ambartsum Sarkisyan, 31, was booked Tuesday night for assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer after surrendering himself to Glendale Police following a two-hour pursuit through the San Fernando Valley and Hollywood, according to LAPD.

Sarkisyan was driving a tow truck during the pursuit that started around 4:30 p.m. after he allegedly got into an altercation with officers at the scene of a car crash in Van Nuys, said Officer Karen Rayner with LAPD.

Related Video: Pursuit Suspects Talks with NBC4 at a Stop Light

Sarkisyan surrendered at Mountain Street and Brand Boulevard shortly before 7 p.m. and was taken into custody without incident.

The driver identified himself to NBC4 as 31-year-old Hambik Sarkisyan after he was arrested. Shortly after 6 p.m., he spoke with NBC4's Robert Kovacik at a stop light.

"They're trying to give me a ticket for no reason," Sarkisyan told NBC4 after rolling down his window.

"I'm not going to hurt anybody," he said, adding that he "has plenty of money" and is not worried about getting arrested before smiling and resuming the pursuit.

The incident began when officers responded to the scene of a traffic collision near the intersection of Magnolia Boulevard and Woodman Avenue in Van Nuys around 4:30 p.m., Rayner said.

The driver of the tow truck, owned by Portola Tow Truck in Lake Forest, was on the scene, where he reportedly got into a fight with responding officers, Rayner said.

Police tried unsuccessfully to stop the driver with spike strips, which he evaded at least twice. Police said the 15,000-pound truck may be too big to PIT manuever -- a tactic that nudges the back of a vehicle, sending it into a tail spin and forcing it to a stop.

The pursuit wound through the San Fernando Valley, through Van Nuys, into North Hollywood, Hollywood and Los Feliz -- often times circling back through already-traveled areas.

Aerial communications reported that the driver has a history of DUI, evading and obstructing police activity. NBC4 News has not been able to independently confirm that report.

The 15,000-pound truck is equipped with a scanner on board, and was scheduled for maintenance due to a water pump issue, which could post a threat to the vehicle's engine.

Several LAPD vehicles and helicopters tailed driver, who appeared to obey traffic laws and stop at red lights as he drove through rush-hour traffic, which was light.

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