HACIENDA HEIGHTS (CNS) – A parolee who led authorities on a wild chase involving multiple vehicles, one of which he used to repeatedly ram a Fullerton police cruiser that was being used in an unsuccessful attempt to pin him in place, was in custody Thursday following his arrest in Hacienda Heights.
Johnny Anchondo, 32, was being held on a parole violation, pending the possible filing of other charges, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
According to Fullerton police, the suspect fled from an attempted traffic stop about 4:40 p.m. Wednesday at Auto Center Drive and the Santa Ana (5) Freeway.
The suspect was originally in a dark-colored sedan, but at one point stopped and jumped out of the car and tried to steal a parked pickup truck in Anaheim. When he was unable to break into the vehicle, he jumped back into the sedan, eventually parking and running into a townhome complex.
The suspect then hopped into a parked white van, but a Fullerton police officer parked a cruiser directly behind the vehicle, pinning it in a parking space. Undaunted, the suspect repeatedly rammed the cruiser until he was able to slip by the police vehicle and sped away.
Eventually the suspect reached Whittier, where the van lost one of its rear tires and became disabled. The suspect continued trying to escape, spinning the stripped rear wheel, which sent sparks flying and eventually sparked a fire under the van.
With police stationed behind the vehicle, the suspect crawled out of the passenger side and fled on foot, running into a residential neighborhood where he walked into a home and got into a confrontation with one of the residents, Andres Benitez, inside.
” I was in the kitchen drinking an energy drink, my mom was on the couch and we were talking. And we see the back door open, and that back door is never suppose to open, no matter what. So when I saw it open, my first reaction was someone is trying to get into the house,” Benitez told the TV station.
Benitez told Fox11 he grabbed a knife to try and defend himself and his mother, who was also inside the residence.
“I told him, `You got to get out of the house or I’m going to stab you right now.’ And when I told him that, he felt threatened and put his hands up and kept saying, `Please, please.’ Knowing my mother is in the house, I’m going to defend the house,” Benitez told Channel 11.
The confrontation spilled onto the front driveway, where the suspect, after grabbing Benitez’s truck keys, jumped into the white pickup truck and drove off, nearly striking some of the residents as he fled.
Benitez told Fox11 he bought the truck three weeks ago to help with his family’s landscaping business.
“It was just hard work. This was my goal since two years ago,” Benitez told the TV station.
The suspect struck multiple vehicles during the chase, appearing desperate to avoid capture as he drove on the wrong side of various streets. At one point, the front driver’s side tire on the truck became deflated and fell off the vehicle.
The suspect crashed into several more vehicles before the truck became disabled at a gas station. He attempted to flee as deputies attempted to box him into the gas station, prompting the deputies to open fire on the truck as it rammed into their vehicles.
A small fire erupted beneath the truck as the man continued to attempt to flee, though deputies managed to extinguish the flames from behind a ballistic shield.
Deputies approached the vehicle and took the suspect into custody about 6:15 p.m. He was walked to a squad car and placed inside before paramedics placed him into an ambulance about 6:30 p.m. and took him to a hospital for treatment of unknown injuries.