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LAPD pursuit becomes 6-hour slow burn

A suspect led police at a snail’s pace, sometimes driving at speeds in the single digits

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By Suzie Ziegler

LOS ANGELES — A six-hour police pursuit drew plenty of media attention Tuesday night – just not for the reasons you might think. The driver, whom police believed to be armed, led officers at a snail’s pace along several highways.

According to NBC 4, the pursuit started just after 7 p.m. when police received a report of a man with a gun. The marathon finally ended in a standoff just before 1:30 the next morning.

At first, the driver was speeding and driving recklessly in residential neighborhoods, NBC 4 reported. But when the driver merged onto the highway, his speeds became more erratic. The driver slowed several times to 30 mph, sometimes even crawling along in the single digits. The driver appeared to be changing clothes at one point, said NBC 4.

The leisurely drive continued past the three-hour mark as the driver merged onto different freeways. The suspect vehicle’s front tires were badly damaged and, by the four-hour mark, the car was riding on metal rims.

News helicopters captured the pursuit, showing the bizarre maneuvers. The driver appeared to be playing a cat-and-mouse game with the police by stopping the car, only to start again when police got out of their vehicles. Finally, the suspect stepped out of the car and was taken into custody.

An officer involved in the pursuit, Sgt. Juan Garcia, said one of the reasons why police didn’t try a disabling maneuver was because the driver was possibly armed. Garcia told NBC 4 that he’d never heard of a pursuit lasting this long in his 20 years with LAPD. He added that many officers even had to peel off to refuel during the pursuit (the driver had a full tank, Garcia added).

Police said the driver was arrested on suspicion of felony evading, according to NBC4. He also had two outstanding warrants for burglary. It’s not clear if police recovered a weapon.