Police attempted to contact the driver of a minivan only minutes before it crashed on a freeway onramp and burst into flames, taking the life of a passenger.
It happened shortly after midnight Thursday in Culver City at the Venice Boulevard offramp exiting the northbound 405 freeway.
Only minutes earlier, a Culver City patrol unit had pulled over the 2016 Honda Odyssey near the Westfield Mall. But as the officer walked up to the driver's door, the minivan took off and got on the freeway, authorities said. It crashed at the next offramp, going over the median and onto the adjacent onramp, where an SUV was approaching and incurred minor damage.
Responders learned later from running the license plate that the minivan had been reported stolen, said Officer Vance Perreira of the CHP West LA Station. But at the time of the crash, no law enforcement vehicles were pursuing the minivan, Perreira said.
The minivan passenger declared dead at the scene was identified as Samantha Gomez, 19.
The driver, identified as Luis Andrade, 26, of Hawthorne, faces charges including manslaughter, grand theft auto, felony evading, and driving under the influence, Perreria said.
Andrade was hospitalized, along with the two surviving passengers.
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Perreria said CHP officers remained at the hospital, waiting to arrest Andrade after his medical discharge.