Suspect steals OCTA bus in Irvine then crashes it during chase into Costa Mesa

COSTA MESA, Calif. (KABC) -- A driver in a stolen Orange County transit bus crashed into a guardrail on a 55 Freeway offramp in Costa Mesa while trying to evade police during a chase.

"He came sideways off the onramp. He was just completely out of control," witness Igal Israel said.

Irvine police said the Orange County Transportation Authority bus was stolen around 6:20 p.m. Thursday in the area of Barranca and Harvard avenues.

There were no passengers on the bus, and at some point the suspect tried to run over an Irvine motorcycle officer.

Authorities said the officer was not injured.

As the suspect tried to exit the 55 Freeway, the vehicle crashed into a guardrail along the offramp. The suspect was quickly taken into custody when he tried to flee from the vehicle.

The suspect had also crashed into a black Pruis. Inside was Valeria Barrow, a mother-to-be who is 18 weeks pregnant.

Her husband Josh was down the street, when he got the call about her being involved in the crash. He said Barrow was on her way home from work when she got tangled in the high-speed chase.

She said the driver of the stolen bus crashed into her and then into the guardrail.

Josh said he knew something was wrong when his wife didn't come home.

"She should be here, really soon. Those helicopters were circling right where she would get off so it was really scary," Josh said.

Luckily, Valerie and the baby are recovering at a local hospital. Josh is thankful the accident didn't end in tragedy.

The driver faces various charges, including assault with a deadly weapon.

The investigation is ongoing.
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