Man sues LA County over alleged beating after getting caught in middle of wild SoCal chase

City News Service
Thursday, February 2, 2023
Man caught in middle of wild SoCal pursuit sues over alleged beating
A man sued Los Angeles County, alleging he was wrongfully battered by sheriff's deputies when he found himself incidentally in the middle of a wild televised chase.

LOS ANGELES (CNS) -- A man sued Los Angeles County, alleging he was wrongfully battered by sheriff's deputies when he found himself incidentally in the middle of a wild televised chase.

Adrian Cruz brought the Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit on behalf of himself, his wife, Amanda Sainz, and their 12-year-old son, Adrian Cruz Jr. The suit alleges civil rights violations, including excessive force and unlawful search and seizure, as well as battery, negligence, false arrest and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

The plaintiffs seek unspecified damages as well as punitive damages against the deputies, whose names remain to be determined by the plaintiff's lawyers and for now are referred to as Does.

A sheriff's department representative did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

A man was arrested in the San Gabriel Valley after he led authorities on a dangerous chase in which he stole a van and a truck, and hit several other cars on the road.

Fullerton police attempted to pull 33-year-old Moreno Valley resident Johnny Anchondo over about 6:45 p.m. Nov. 9 for traffic violations, but he kept going and led police on a chase to a condominium complex, where he dumped the car and ran away, prosecutors say.

Anchondo then jumped into a white van, and despite police attempting to hem him in, he rammed the vehicle in reverse against a squad car to get away, prosecutors allege.

The chase, which reached speeds of nearly 100 mph, wound through northern Orange County to Whittier, where Anchondo dumped the broken-down van and ran into a home in Whittier, where he grabbed keys and stole a work truck, prosecutors said.

Anchondo nearly crashed the work truck into several Los Angeles County Sheriff's squad cars in a cul de sac as he turned around and kept going, prosecutors said. He allegedly crashed the truck into two other cars, including one being driven by Cruz, before the truck was rammed by two Los Angeles County sheriff's department squad cars as it rolled into a service station at Gale Avenue and Hacienda Boulevard.

Cruz had been waiting for the signal to turn green so he could proceed south on Hacienda Boulevard when his vehicle was hit head-on by the truck, which in turn was rammed by a deputy's patrol car, causing an additional impact on Cruz's vehicle, the suit states.

As Anchondo's truck rolled forward into the service station, deputies began firing at Anchondo and in the direction of the plaintiffs' vehicle, the suit states. Cruz got out and tried to get his passengers out of their vehicle and out of the line of fire, the suit states.

A man who led police on a wildly erratic and dangerous chase through Los Angeles and Orange counties was taken into custody, but a different driver whose car was hit by the pursuit suspect was also detained at the end of it.

"Rather than providing any assistance, protection or guidance to the plaintiffs ... Doe deputies suddenly tackled and violently began to punch plaintiff Adrian Cruz in his head while simultaneously grabbing his head and smashing it to the ground," the suit states.

Meanwhile, Cruz's wife and son remained in the vehicle, still in danger from the gunfire, according to the suit.

"Thankfully, Amanda Sainz and (her son) were able to get out of their vehicle and ran to safety ... while Doe deputies continued to relentlessly punch and use excessive force upon Adrian Cruz," the suit states.

Cruz, of Hacienda Heights, was handcuffed without justification, arrested and placed in a patrol vehicle for 45 minutes before being released without an explanation given as to why he was detained, the suit states.

Cruz has suffered economic losses as well as emotional distress and his wife and son also suffered emotionally from witnessing his alleged beating.

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