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Pursuit of stolen park ranger vehicle ends in Sylmar

November 21, 2011 12:04:49 AM PST
A dangerous high-speed pursuit of a stolen park ranger vehicle came to an end in the Sylmar area, creating a traffic backup on the 210 Freeway on Monday.

Authorities say the suspects stole the vehicle from rangers at Hungry Valley State Vehicular Recreational Area, who had made a stop of a reportedly stolen vehicle around Pyramid Lake at about 10 a.m.

Park rangers were trying to arrest a couple who were driving a blue sedan stolen from Arizona.

Two suspects were arrested at that time, but somehow, the male suspect was able to get out of his handcuffs, and the two suspects jumped into the park ranger's SUV and took off. Shots were fired as the suspects sped away.

The pursuit went through Santa Clarita on the 5 Freeway to the 14, and then to the 210, where the chase ended just east of Polk Street at 11:05 a.m.

The suspects hit at least two cars during the chase.

"The female was detained and placed into the back seat of one of the officers' vehicles. The male companion at some point ran away from the officers and then entered the officers' vehicle. He made a U-turn and then drove right at one of the officers. The officer, fearing for his safety, fired his weapon at the suspect," said L.A. County Sheriff's Lt. Dave Dolson.

The male driver was reportedly shot in the torso. But he managed to drive south on the I-5 to Santa Clarita, then east on the 210 before pulling over and surrendering near Sylmar. The driver was bleeding heavily as officers placed him under arrest.

"There was some indication that they may have been casing one of the officers' residences up there in the park," said Dolson.

The woman was still wearing the handcuffs the rangers had placed on her earlier Monday.

From the stolen SUV, officers recovered an assault rifle and a shotgun issued to the park rangers.

"It's accessible to anybody that has control of the vehicle as long as the vehicle is running and such," said Dolson.

The injured driver reportedly had called 911 himself moments before the arrest. The driver was hospitalized and received immediate surgery for his wound. His condition was not released.

The woman was taken into custody.

Authorities did not identify the suspects.

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