An unusual chase involving a stolen big rig went on for about eight hours through three Southern California counties before ending in a freeway standoff that continued into Thursday and frustrated morning commuters.
California Highway Patrol officers pursued the big rig at slow speeds from East Los Angeles to Ventura County, east to Commerce and then south into Orange County. After spike strips were used to blow out the rig's tires, the chase turned into an overnight standoff on the 55 Freeway in Santa Ana.
After tying up the morning drive, the driver in a an orange reflective shirt surrendered at about 8:30 a.m. and was taken into custody. He was identified by authorities as Bryan Santana, 22, of Los Angeles.
The chase began after the big rig was stolen around 8:14 p.m. from a food service lot at Fifth and Indiana streets in East Los Angeles, CHP Officer Patrick Kimball confirmed.
An employee of Individual Food Service, a Bell-based food service company, called police to report the tractor trailer he was driving was stolen. CHP pursued the driver with helicopters and patrol vehicles and attempted to slow the suspect using spike strips five times on the Ronald Regan and Ventura freeways, causing blowouts to the rig's front and back tires but the suspect did not stop, Kimball said.
Two of the 18-wheeler's tires were blown completely off the rig. Just before 11 p.m. three additional attempts with the spike strips were used to no avail, Kimball said.
The big rig also was on the Hollywood (101) Freeway before continuing south on the 5 Freeway into Commerce.
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The driver stopped around 4 a.m. on the 55 Freeway in Santa Ana, where the standoff continued Thursday morning. The driver tried several times to start the big rig without success.
The standoff caused major traffic tie-ups on several Orange County roads and freeways Thursday morning.