An Uber passenger was struck and killed by a California Highway Patrol cruiser after he jumped over a median on the 101 Freeway and ran across lanes early Monday in Encino, according to the CHP.
Officers were responding to a report of an Uber driver stopped in the freeway's westbound No. 1 lane at the time of the fatal crash. The driver stopped at about 3:40 a.m. near Balboa Boulevard after reporting that passengers were fighting in the car, the CHP said.
"CHP dispatch received a call of an Uber driver in distress," said CHP Officer Weston Haver. "Two parties in that vehicle were involved in a physical fight."
One of the passengers got out of the black Honda Civic and jumped over the center median before he was struck by a CHP vehicle while running across eastbound lanes. It appears the CHP vehicle was responding to the scene, where other officers were running a traffic break.
The No. 1 lane is the fast lane, the closest to the median wall. It was not immediately clear why the driver did not pull to the right shoulder of the freeway.
"I don’t know if it was due to safety, he had to stop immediately and couldn't get over to the right shoulder to a safe location," Haver said.
The passenger, who died at the scene, was identified only as a man in his 30s. A second passenger and the driver remained at the scene.
Initial reports indicated no CHP officers were seriously injured. The CHP cruiser's windshield appeared to have shattered.
Eastbound lanes were closed at White Oak Avenue for an houslong investigation. Lanes reopened at about 10 a.m.
"It's a very complex investigation," said Haver.
During a morning news conference about the crash, Haver stopped to prevent a driver from entering the 101 Freeway where authorities were conducting the fatal crash investigation.
At least one other driver also tried to enter the closed entrance ramp.