A driver who led officers on a pursuit through three Southern California counties, smoking a cigarette and throwing trash out a window, was pulled from a freeway overpass by an officer, ending a tense standoff Monday morning in San Bernardino.
The hourlong pursuit came to an end when the driver of the stolen Toyota Camry exited the vehicle on the side of 215 Freeway with what appeared to be a piece of metal that was removed from the car. He walked across all freeway lanes and climbed onto the edge of an overpass, dangling his legs over the side, as officers approached with a K-9.
As he gestured with the wiper blade at one group of officers, another officer dashed up from behind the man and pulled him back from the ledge and onto the ground. Other officers joined the struggle and took the man, who appeared to be bleeding from his leg, into custody.
"I knew that if I didn't take the opportunity that it could have been worse and luckily for me it worked out that I was able to help him,"said CHP Officer Reynaldo Avalos, who grabbed the man from the edge.
Paramedics treated the man on the side of the freeway. Details regarding his condition were not immediately available.
The man repeatedly said, "The system doesn't work. The system doesn't work, I tried to get a job," as paramedics wheeled him on a gurney to an ambulance.
The man said he had spent time on Skid Row and was "out of options."
The pursuit began at about 8:45 a.m. after a report of a stolen vehicle near Morongo Valley, just west of Joshua Tree National Park in Riverside County.
The black Toyota Camry was on the westbound 60 Freeway, near Moreno Valley, before the driver entered the Pomona and Diamond Bar areas. The driver exited onto the northbound 605 and eastbound 10 freeways in the Covina area and threw items, including a plastic bag, out the window before lighting a cigarette.
The driver, the vehicle's lone occupant, doubled back into eastern Riverside County, passed the 15 Freeway transition and headed north on the 215 Freeway into San Bernardino County.