Police sought the public's help Thursday in locating a 22-year-old parolee accused of driving away from a bicycle-mounted officer who tried to pull him over for a traffic violation in downtown Los Angeles.
San Diego resident Sahand Haji-Safari, also known as Sahand Hajisafari, was already the subject of a warrant out of San Diego County for failing to answer to another felony evading violation when an officer tried to pull him over about 12:20 p.m. Tuesday, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
The Central Traffic Division bicycle officer spotted Haji-Safari driving a black 2005 Mercedes-Benz, California license plate number 8DOV066, while texting, police allege. The car also had expired tags, police said.
"Los Angeles Police Department bicycles are equipped with emergency forward-facing red lights and a siren that is at least 115 decibels loud," according to an LAPD statement. "The bike officer activated his emergency lights and sirens to get the driver's attention, and directed the driver to pull to the curb when they made eye contact."
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The driver did not yield and instead accelerated in an attempt to elude the officer, driving the wrong way on a one-way street and using bike lanes to avoid oncoming traffic, according to the LAPD. "He also was involved in two separate misdemeanor hit-and-run traffic accidents while attempting to elude the bike officer."
The driver pulled into the entrance of a parking structure near the 600 block of South Broadway, where he was recorded on video stopping, exiting his vehicle and walking toward a ticket machine that would have activated the gate arm to allow him to enter, police said.
But the man forgot to put his car in park, so he jumped back into the car and brought it to a stop.
"The driver exited the vehicle again to retrieve some items he dropped, however, he saw the bike officer entering the parking structure," police said. "The driver re-entered his vehicle and began to initiate a three-point turn to exit the parking structure. The bike officer directed the driver to stop, however, the driver told the officer that he could not and said he was, 'sorry.' The driver drove out of the parking structure and was able to escape arrest."
Haji-Safari, who is on parole for a burglary conviction, is now wanted on suspicion of felony evading in Los Angeles County and has a warrant for his arrest after failing to appear in court in San Diego County for the prior alleged felony evading violation, police said.
Anyone with information about Sahand Haji-Safari's whereabouts was urged to contact LAPD Central Traffic Division Detectives at (213) 833-3713 or Detective Campos at (213) 486-0755.
During non-business hours, calls should be directed to (877) LAPD-24-7.
Tips can also be submitted through Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS or lacrimestoppers.org. All tips can be made anonymously.