Officers pursued a reckless driver of a convertible Mustang connected with a home burglary in a bizarre top-down chase on Southern California streets and freeways Thursday afternoon.
The blue Ford Mustang with a black convertible top was driving at high speeds and was initially reported in the Cerritos area. At least two people were in the car. Deputies identified them Thursday night as Isaiah Young, 19, the passenger, and Herschel Reynolds, 20, the driver.
When the men finally pulled over in South LA, ending the chase, they were swarmed by crowds with cellphone cameras. Police said they felt there was no rush to take the men into custody.
"They did not appear that they were running anywhere," said LAPD Capt. Andy Neiman, a department spokesman. "For law enforcement to rush in would have exacerbated that situation."
Neighbors said they know why the men stopped at that location.
"Why they come on this street?" said Darriel Harris, a neighbor. "They stay on this street. Come home to his momma. Both of them did."
Concern for the burglary suspects' safety is why some said they came outside.
"I asked them when police got here, do not resist," said Narvie Lee Richmond, a neighbor. "Do not cause any problems. Allow them to arrest them. Take them to the station. Let the legal system work out ... didn't want to see young black men getting killed."
Both the driver and the passenger taunted police and CHP officers, often driving on the wrong side of the road, doing 360-degree spins, fishtailing on dangerously wet streets, and standing up and looking around at the helicopters overhead. The chase wound through South LA, East LA, Hollywood, the Hollywood Hills and back to Hollywood.
A TMZ tour bus even tried to block the car as it drove on the 101 Freeway. Only the tour bus operator was aboard.
Initially, LAPD officers made several attempts to pull over the car, and continued to track the vehicle while staying just short of a full pursuit on downtown freeways.
Just after 2 p.m. CHP officers began a pursuit as the car transitioned to the 101 northbound.
Around 2:20 p.m., the car exited to surface streets, doing doughnuts on a rainy Hollywood Boulevard. The passenger repeatedly stood up in the convertible, appearing to smile at overhead helicopters and at one point talking on the phone.
In the rainy conditions, the car struck at least one other vehicle on the 101 Freeway and clipped another on the 110 Freeway.
Around 2:30 p.m., the car headed up windy Laurel Canyon, fishtailing somewhat on the wet roads before turning on to Mulholland Drive and heading southbound on the 101 Freeway.
By 3 p.m., the car was in the USC area, and bystanders were running up to the Mustang as it drove by.
Just before 3:30 p.m., the passenger's side front tire went flat, and the pair eventually came to a stop in a South LA neighborhood. Dozens of bystanders came out and the two embraced several people before sitting in and on the car waiting for officers.
Sheriff's deputies arrived at 3:30 p.m. and took the driver, passenger and a third man into custody.