Deputy Shoots at Wrong-Way Driver From Helicopter, Forcing Freeway Closure

Deputies shot the man from a helicopter, officials said.

A sheriff's deputy in a helicopter shot at a suspected home invasion robber who led authorities on a 100-mph chase Friday, and the suspect died on a Southern California freeway, authorities said.

It wasn't immediately clear whether the man had been wounded by gunfire or died from other injuries, San Bernardino County Sheriff's Deputy Deon Filer said.

Deputies began pursuing the robbery suspect from the Fontana area east of Los Angeles around midday, authorities said.

The gray Chevrolet Yukon reached speeds of 100 mph as it raced along streets and traveled southbound in the northbound lanes of Interstate 215 into San Bernardino, sideswiping a car, authorities said.

The wrong-way driving prompted a deputy to open fire on the SUV from a helicopter.

"It's a public-safety issue," Deputy Olivia Bozek said. "Once he starts going the wrong way, obviously he doesn't care about passengers or pedestrians or other cars that are around."

Investigators said it is rare of deputies to shoot from a helicopter, but San Bernardino County sheriff's deputies are trained to do so, particularly if the suspect poses a threat to public safety.

TV reports showed at least five gunshots in the SUV's hood.

The driver then bailed out of the vehicle, which kept rolling and crashed head-on into a Dodge Durango. Three people in that SUV were injured and taken to hospitals, officials said.

One of the passengers in the SUV, a woman, suffered a fractured rib, and the other two suffered minor injuries. The victims were transported to Loma Linda University Medical Center where the female victim underwent surgery, according to the victim's family.

The fleeing driver continued along the freeway until he collapsed a short distance away near an overpass. He died at the scene.

The incident closed the northbound lanes for hours, backing up traffic for miles. At 11 p.m. the 215 Freeway remained closed for investigation at Little League Drive to the 15 Freeway. Authorities said the intersection would reopen around 9:30 a.m. on Saturday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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