Torrance police said officers were pursuing a stolen 2005 Volvo station wagon.
The female suspect, 24-year-old Vanessa Gomez, ran red lights and was going more than 100 mph, according to investigators.
The officers fell behind and lost sight of the suspect and suspended the chase. They then came upon the crash.
The stolen car was wrapped around a tree. The driver died at the scene.
PCH was closed for several hours as officers investigated.