Trail of damaged cars, injured people in RV chase highlights dangers of police pursuits

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A dangerous high-speed chase in a stolen RV through the San Fernando Valley left several people injured.

The RV smashed into at least six other cars during the chase, shredding the side of the vehicle's passenger side open.

This was a CHP pursuit but for any law-enforcement agency this scenario can be very difficult

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said "It makes it a little dicey because that usually is not a vehicle you expect to see in a pursuit and then the difficulty of driving because it's very boxy and driving it is very unpredictable."

We've seen a string of dangerous chases in Los Angeles County.

Two weeks ago a pursuit ended in tragedy in Long Beach.

Police say Javier Olivarez was running from officers in a stolen car. He went through a stop sign and hit a car. The woman inside that car was killed along with four dogs.

Back in April a pickup truck plowed through a Lake Balboa intersection, striking five other vehicles. A closer look shows parts of those cars and trucks flying into the air, the pickup flipping onto its side.

Officials say there is a lot going on behind the scenes during these pursuits.

Trained experts are watching and evaluating risks.

"We want to try to minimize the number of times we going to push it. Obviously we want to make them a short as possible and we want to make them as safe as possible so it's a delicate balancing act between the need to apprehend versus the safety of the community," said Villanueva.

Villanueva says following these pursuits from the air is actually the safest way to do it.

"We can go in what we call surveillance mode," said Villanueva. "Where we're not actually physically behind a vehicle. We back off, they think they're not being chased but we're just following them to their destinations."
Copyright © 2019 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.