A man died and another hospitalized after a police chase on the 405 freeway which started in Westminster on Monday night.
The incident occurred after a pick-up truck, whose driver had earlier been involved in a disturbance and pursuit, was spotted by officers at around 11:10 p.m. in the area of La Pat Street and Westminster Boulevard, Westminster Police Department said.
The vehicle drove back onto the 405 and another chase, which ended in Long Beach, began. The driver, identified as Javier Montoya by police, allegedly drove at a high rate of speed until he was forced to exit the freeway due to construction, but continued to speed on surface and also blacked out his vehicle.
Police helicopters from Anaheim and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department then took over the pursuit as Westminster officers trailed. The vehicle re-entered the northbound 405 and continued driving erratically until losing control, hitting a lamp post and going over the side of the freeway and hitting a large tree at the bottom of the embankment.
The vehicle’s engine became engulfed in flames, and Westminster Police officers pulled Montoya and his passenger from the vehicle.
Montoya was taken to hospital for treatment to minor injuries to his face and body. The passenger succumbed to his injuries and died at the scene.
Due to the crash, the northbound 405 transition road to the southbound 710 is currently closed. along with the northbound 710 transition road to the northbound 405.
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The incident came after an earlier pursuit, which occurred after police responded to a disturbance in which Montoya allegedly simulated having a weapon in his waistband after a possible road rage incident.at a 24 Hour Fitness parking lot at the 6700 block of Westminster Avenue at around 7:15 p.m.
When officers arrived Montoya allegedly fled the scene and drove onto northbound 405. On the freeway the suspect allegedly slammed on the brakes, causing one of the police cars to rear end the suspect's vehicle. He then continued on the 405 and allegedly intentionally side-swiped another police vehicle.
The suspect continued at a high rate of speed, weaving in and out of traffic, even at times using the emergency lane to evade police. The pursuit was called off in the area of the northbound 405 freeway and Woodruff Avenue, in the City of Long Beach.
"This was a very dangerous incident and thankfully again no officers or bystanders were injured. Despite the danger that was created by Montoya, our officers continued to put themselves in harm’s way when they rescued Montoya and his passenger from the burning vehicle," Westminster Police Corporal Eddie Esqueda said.