Smoking Blonde Tackled After Epic SoCal U-Haul Chase - NBC Southern California

Smoking Blonde Tackled After Epic SoCal U-Haul Chase

Pursuit ends with foot chase

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    After almost 2 1/2 hours, the vehicle finally stopped, and the driver fled.

    PALMDALE, Calif. -- A woman driving a stolen U-haul truck led law enforcement officers on a chase Wednesday that began in Littlerock, wound through downtown Los Angeles and ended after a short foot chase in Oxnard about two hours later.

    The pursuit began on the southbound Antelope Valley (14) Freeway at Crown Valley about 3:15 p.m., when sheriff's deputies spotted the vehicle in Newhall, realized it was reported stolen and tried to make a stop, said California Highway Patrol Officer Jose Nunez.

    The truck entered Ventura County at about 5 p.m. The driver avoided a set of spike strips by crossing a grass median and driving north in the southbound lanes.

    At 5:15 p.m., the woman was swerving the vehicle back and forth, possibly to slosh the remaining fuel in the tank. When the truck stopped, she got out and ran and tried to jump in a car, but the driver pulled away. The woman ran again, but was quickly tackled by a CHP officer.

    High-Speed Pursuit Ends

    [LA] High-Speed Pursuit Ends
    A woman flees a U-Haul truck and is taken into custody.
    (Published Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2009)

    The U-Haul was stolen in Littlerock in the high desert, according to a broadcast report.

    Sheriff's deputies happened to be in the area checking on an unrelated car theft when she took the vehicle, which had keys in it. But the pursuit did not begin until after she had gotten to the southbound Antelope Valley Freeway, officials said.

    At times, the driver -- a blonde woman in a white tank top -- weaved through traffic and drove across medians.

    The woman drove south on the Golden State (5) Freeway, wound through the Westlake area, then circled around some downtown freeways. 

    She traveled through the East Los Angeles interchange twice before heading west on the Santa Monica (10) Freeway.

    The woman appeared to be nonchalant as she looked into her purse for a lighter and began smoking a cigarette. At another point she began stretching her legs and moving around, as if she were bouncing up and down to music.

    Once she got to Pacific Coast Highway, she often drove against traffic in the 8,000-pound vehicle not known for its maneuverability or stability, heading toward Ventura County.