CHP chase ends in Watts after robbery of Chino Hills gas station; 2 in custody

ByJosh Haskell and staff via KABC logo
Friday, December 29, 2017
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Two men were apprehended and a third was at large after the robbery of a Chino Hills gas station was followed by a chase that ended in Watts.

WATTS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Two men were apprehended early Friday morning and a third was at large after the robbery of a Chino Hills gas station was followed by a chase that ended some 40 miles away in Watts, authorities said.

The robbery was reported shortly after 2 a.m. at an Arco at the intersection of Pipeline Ave and Chino Hills Parkway, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department. No one was injured in the incident.

Responding to a request from Chino Hills police about 2:15 a.m., California Highway Patrol officers conducted a traffic stop on a white Kia Optima on the westbound 60 Freeway at Hacienda Boulevard in Hacienda Heights, officials said. The sedan was said to be occupied by three men suspected in a string of armed robberies.

"The vehicle accelerated away at high speeds and a pursuit ensued as the vehicle utilized all lanes of traffic to evade police," the CHP said in a statement. The car made its way onto the southbound 710 Freeway as a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department helicopter arrived overhead.

"Due to the excessive speeds and the safety of the public, CHP units discontinued the pursuit as the helicopter continued following the vehicle," the news release said.

The driver, later identified as 25-year-old parolee Ricky Lee Vaughn, exited the freeway and ultimately stopped at Firth Boulevard and 96th Street in Watts, according to investigators. Vaughn and the two passengers then allegedly fled on foot.

The driver was taken into custody in a nearby schoolyard, and an unidentified passenger was apprehended a short distance from the car, the highway patrol said. The third suspect escaped.

Chino Hills police took custody of Vaughn, a Compton resident who was arrested on suspicion of reckless evading.