A suspect arrested following a pursuit that ended with a deadly crash in the Fairfax District rammed a deputy sheriff's car during an earlier traffic stop and then fled the scene, sparking the chase that led to the death of an uninvolved motorist, Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Wednesday.
The crash occurred around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday near Fairfax Avenue and Third Street when the driver of a silver sedan being chased by deputies crashed into a blue SUV, killing the driver, identified by the Los Angeles County coroner's office Wednesday as Jeeves Tangonan, 37, of Los Angeles.
Video from the scene showed the SUV on a sidewalk, pinned between a tree and a building, as firefighters attempted to free the driver from the wreckage.
The 28-year-old suspect, whose name was not immediately available, was arrested at the scene.
Villanueva said a deputy had pulled the suspect over for a traffic stop, and the suspect was under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Investigators said the man, who was driving a gray Chevrolet Malibu, had been "lane straddling and driving without headlights on during time of darkness."
"The person stopped and the deputy got out of his vehicle, made contact with the driver," the sheriff said. "Then the driver struck the (deputy's) vehicle and drove away and fled the scene. That's where the pursuit initiated. And sadly when the suspect fled … later on down the road there was a fatal traffic (collision).
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"Our condolences to the victim's family," he said. "My heart goes out to them, because this person appeared to be under the influence. There was definitely impairment. So we're going through all of our investigative process."
Villanueva said the suspect was booked on suspicion of "a host of different charges," including vehicular manslaughter and assault with a deadly weapon against a police officer.
"It's definitely a sad moment," he said.
The deputy who was involved in the initial traffic stop was taken to a hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries, as was the suspect, the sheriff's department reported.