The pursuit began just after 12:30 a.m., when Buena Park officers tried to pull over a 1996 Toyota sedan near Stanton and Orangethorpe avenues because the woman behind the wheel had committed a traffic code violation, Buena Park police Sgt. Bill Kohanek said. But the woman refused to yield, triggering a chase through Buena Park, Anaheim, Fullerton, Tustin and Santa Ana, he said, adding that Tustin and Santa Ana police joined in the pursuit.
"At some point during the pursuit, Buena Park units were intentionally rammed by the suspect vehicle," Kohanek said, adding that no officers were hurt during the collision. The chase ended with an officer-involved shooting in the 1900 block of Grand Avenue near East 17th Street just after 1 a.m., Santa Ana police Commander Larry Coleman said.
"It was at that time," according to Kohanek, that "we realized there was a car seat in the backseat and we approached it as if it was occupied."
It was occupied and when the car finally came to a stop, police removed the child safely.
The Toyota came to a halt when the woman crashed into a hedge on the wrong side of the street in front of a Food 4 Less supermarket. Officers rushed to the vehicle and pulled the baby from the backseat as the woman remained slumped over the steering wheel.
"The baby was uninjured," Kohanek said.
The 18-month-old girl, whose relationship with the driver was not immediately reported, was taken to Orangewood Children's Home following the chase, said Santa Ana police Commander Tammy Franks. The driver was declared dead at the scene, Coleman said.
Police identified the woman as Susie Young Kim, 37, of Irvine.
Coleman said no officers were hurt in the shooting and an investigation was under way.
Neighbors who heard the gunshots say they are saddened at the events. Kyle Jones says the driver made a big mistake, "That's bad on her part. You got your kid in the back, putting them in danger, that's not too bright."