Memorial Day traffic snarled due to pursuit

- Update from Hal Eisner:

Because of the holiday things were going pretty well on our LA freeways. That all changed when a man named Gilbert Barajas led police and CHP on a 2.5 hour chase banging up cars and almost hitting someone on a bike. Now, he's facing some significant charges.

The chase started in South Gate on a traffic stop where the KIA Sorrento came up as a vehicle stolen in Los Angeles. From that point on, the chase was on. It was on lots of freeways, residential streets... on TV. People came out of their houses to look and over on the 405 near the 710 where it finally ended cars were stopped and people were outside their cars on the 405 taking pictures and selfies.

With regard to the pursuit, Police in South Gate say at first, because Memorial Day traffic was light and no one had been hurt, they backed off but he became reckless and Southgate police say they had to move back in when he moved back toward their city.

Barajas drove on the wrong sides of streets and back and forth in lanes. And, at one point could be seen throwing stuff out the window. It’s only being described to us as checks.

During the chase Barajas was talking to his wife on the phone. We’re told she was trying to get him to stop. He wouldn’t. Not until he got to the 405 freeway near the 710. Traffic came to a standstill in both directions until Barajas finally gave himself up.

 

Earlier:

Authorities are tailing a reportedly stolen SUV in a pursuit that began in South Gate today and has continued in a circular fashion throughout southeastern Los Angeles County streets and highways.

The pursuit began at 10:38 a.m. in the area of Firestone Boulevard and Atlantic Avenue, according to South Gate Police Sgt. H. Gutierrez. 

The motorist in the gray Kia Sorrento slammed into another vehicle at one point, Gutierrez said. It was not immediately known if anyone was injured in that vehicle.

According to news reports, the male driver was the only person in the Sorrento, which was trailed by several squad cars on the eastbound 60 Freeway.

The suspect led police and California Highway Patrol officers on a long chase that involved at least five freeways and many surface streets in the southeast Los Angeles County area, aided by sparse traffic on the Memorial Day
holiday.

He eventually surrendered to CHP officers at 1:20 p.m. on the southbound 405 Freeway near the Los Angeles River.

Officers cleared traffic on both sides of the freeway during the stop.

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