For the third time since Tuesday, personnel with the California Highway Patrol Newhall-Area Office engaged in a vehicle pursuit that wound its way through the Santa Clarita Valley.
On Tuesday, while CHP officers were joining or preparing to join Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies on Interstate 5 to support a containment operation for one of LASD’s pursuit suspects, pursuits on Highway 14 were either just beginning or ending.
A little before CHP began to assist LASD at 10:30 a.m. for their operation north of Templin Highway, their office received a report from the field that one of their units had attempted to stop a vehicle (described as a Kia brand) wanted for a speed violation on the northbound side of Highway 14, near Via Princessa.
“The Kia failed to yield and led officers on a pursuit up to Agua Dulce and made a right turn onto Agua Dulce heading east,” said Officer Josh Greengard, a spokesman for the station. “(The pursuit) went down Agua Dulce canyon to Soledad Canyon.”
The driver of the vehicle then headed south on Soledad Canyon and attempted to get back onto the northbound Highway 14 on-ramp, Greengard said.
“(The female driver) took the turn too fast, collided with the embankment and, as she was climbing out her window, officers apprehended her and took her into custody,” said Greengard.
Around the same time as the Soledad Canyon pursuit, a second pursuit was initiated by CHP officers on HIghway 14 when a motorcycle rider, allegedly speeding, was ordered to pull over by officers but failed to do so.
“The officers chased the motorcycle and asked for additional units,” said Greengard. “Once additional units arrived, (the motorcycle) pulled over and the rider was arrested. Motorcycle was impounded, (the) rider was cited and released.”
On Thursday, officers had their third pursuit of the week, and second one with a motorcycle, following a traffic stop initiated by Fort Tejon CHP officers at 10:30 a.m. on the northbound side of the I-5 near Lebec Road.
After failing to yield to the Tejon officers, the motorcycle rider allegedly headed up the Grapevine and then doubled back once reaching the Bakersfield side of the mountain pass. The suspect then continued southbound and around the time he reached State Route 138, Newhall CHP took over.
“We pursued the motorcycle at speeds of 80-110 mph,” said Greengard of the Thursday morning pursuit. “He gets to the I-210 eastbound at State Route 118, where his bike ran out of gas and he pulled over and gave up.”
When asked why there appears to be a recent uptick in pursuits for CHP officers, Greengard cited recent policy changes within the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office, such as an order limiting the use of sentencing enhancements, getting rid of the cash bail system, and reducing sentencing requirements for some misdemeanor and nonviolent crimes.
“I think criminals are emboldened now with the new directives the new L.A. County District attorney has put in place,” said Greengard. “The punishment on crime across the board is lightened, times were we would book individuals for a crime, they would stay in jail for a few days or a couple of weeks. Now they are being released the same day as the violation.”
One order by L.A. County District Attorney George Gascón — regarding abandonment of sentencing enhancements under the state’s Three Strikes law — was struck down by a Los Angeles County judge earlier this month. However, Gascón is likely to appeal the decision.