July 20, 2024

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Stolen truck crashes into car, killing 2 in Panorama City

Stolen truck crashes into car, killing 2 in Panorama City

A police pursuit ended Tuesday night when the suspect driving a stolen pickup truck crashed into a sedan, killing two occupants inside the car.

The pursuit began just before 7:50 p.m. when Los Angeles police officers spotted a stolen Toyota Tacoma pickup truck on South Alvarado Street near Olympic Blvd. in the Westlake District.

The suspect driver “began to take evasive measures to get away from the officers,” LAPD Deputy Chief Alan Hamilton said in a news conference Tuesday night. The truck drove north on Woodman Ave. into Panorama City, about 17 miles away.

The truck crashed into a Honda Civic in the 13700 block of Lanark Street near Woodman Avenue. The impact mangled the Honda.

The driver and the passenger in the stolen truck fled on foot but were apprehended. One suspect was injured “during a use of force takedown” and was also shot with a Taser, Hamilton said.  

One victim in the Civic was pronounced dead at the scene; the second victim died on the way to the hospital, Hamilton said.

LAPD Deputy Chief Alan Hamilton said the officers had transitioned to “tracking mode,” meaning they had dropped back and stopped the pursuit moments before the crash. 

“We try to conduct these instances where we go in pursuit as safely as possible with all the tools that we have. That’s why we request an air unit right away. That’s why we look at going to tracking mode as soon as we can,” said Hamilton. “But at the same time we have to balance that with a community member who has requested the police department to respond because their vehicle is being stolen.”


What is ‘tracking mode’ in police pursuits?

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Family members identified the two victims in Tuesday night’s collision.

Chris Teagardin, 46, owned a shop in Granada Hills. He is survived by his 18-year-old son and his mother, who he took care of. He was also a Little League coach. Tim Schultz is survived by his 16-year-old daughter. Teagardin and Schultz were best friends since childhood.

Wednesday morning, Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore spoke at news conference about Tuesday night’s incident:

“Sadly and tragically, two individuals — one, the driver who we later found to be wanted for a no-bail felony warrant — callously drove into an intersection at a high speed and T-boned two innocent motorists in a vehicle,” Moore said.

“And to the public that looks to the circumstances of why the department was pursuing that individual, was it consistent with our policies and expectations, we will have more information on that as the information becomes known.”