Mynor Enrique Varela, 20, of Los Angeles was arrested by the Los Angeles Police Department's Robbery Homicide Division around 1 p.m.
LAPD Officer Roberto Sanchez, 32, of Santa Ana and his partner Richard Medina were following a speeding white Camaro when both vehicles made U-turns near Anaheim Street and President Avenue around 3:45 a.m. Saturday. The patrol car was then struck on the driver's side by a Chevrolet Tahoe, which also had been heading eastbound on Anaheim Street.
Sanchez was later pronounced dead at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. He had served for the Harbor Division for about six years.
Medina, his best friend and patrol partner, suffered serious injuries, including a broken jaw.
The driver of the Chevrolet Tahoe, later identified as Varela, immediately ran from the scene. The driver of the speeding Camaro also fled.
Varela is being held without bail.
Sanchez is the third LAPD officer to die in a car crash in the past two months.