SAN BERNARDINO – A man standing on the edge of a freeway overpass threatening to jump after a vehicle pursuit forced the temporary closure of the I-215 Freeway in the San Bernardino area Monday, Sept 27.
Prior to nearly jumping off the freeway overpass the man – who was driving a stolen vehicle – was involved in a police chase that began at about 8 a.m. in Riverside County near Cabazon.
The incident began when Riverside County sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the Morongo Casino Resort & Spa at the request of Morongo tribal police. They were called to the location to assist with a report of a suspicious vehicle.
While deputies were responding to the location they conducted a computer check of the vehicle the man was seen in and learned that the car was reported stolen. The stolen car was described as a black Toyota Camry.
Deputies reportedly arrived as the car was being driven away. They attempted to conduct a traffic stop but the driver, who has not been identified, refused to yield and sped away from deputies.
The deputies initiated a vehicle pursuit that lasted about two hours and spanned several counties. Once the pursuit left Cabazon, it entered the westbound I-60 Freeway where CHP officers took over the pursuit.
The pursuit wound its way out of Riverside County, through San Bernardino County, and into Los Angeles County. The chase then headed northbound on the I-605 Freeway, and then onto the eastbound I-10 Freeway back into San Bernardino County.
During the pursuit, the suspect was driving in an extremely reckless manner, without regard for the safety of other motorists or pursuing officers.
As he fled from officers, the suspect drove at very high speeds; dangerously weaving in and out of traffic. He was also seen throwing items from his vehicle, and gesturing at pursuing CHP officers.
The pursuit ended on the I-215 in Highland when the suspect suddenly pulled to the side of the freeway and exited the stolen car. When the man got out of the vehicle he armed himself with a long metal object.
The suspect refused to comply with CHP officer’s orders leading to a brief standoff.
At one point the man climbed up onto a freeway overpass, as if he intended to jump onto the freeway below. Fearing the man might leap from the overpass, CHP officials stopped all traffic in both directions on the I-215 Freeway below the overpass.
At about 10:10 a.m., as the man sat on the edge of the overpass, CHP officers and a police K9 rushed in and grabbed the distraught man, pulling him back to safety.
AMR emergency medical technicians evaluated and treated the man, who appeared to have a bloody injury on his leg.
Traffic on both the northbound and southbound lanes of the I-215 Freeway remained closed until about 10:45 a.m. when the lanes of traffic were re-opened.
After the man was safely detained, California Highway Patrol Officer Brian Diaz described what he called a “very chaotic” scene in an interview with KTLA5.
“We want to preserve life, that’s one of our main goals,” Diaz said. “We were afraid he was going to do something drastic. Thankfully it ended peacefully and the suspect was taken into custody.”
The man was eventually transported to a local hospital for treatment of his injuries and a mental health evaluation before being booked.
According to Diaz, the man was facing felony evading and possession of a stolen vehicle, as well as other possible charges.