LANCASTER – A man accused of leading officers on a televised high-speed chase last month from Northridge to Palmdale, where he surrendered after a standoff that lasted more than a half-hour, was ordered Monday to stand trial on six felony counts and three misdemeanors.
Lancaster Superior Court Judge Shannon Knight ruled there was sufficient evidence for Sean Christopher Druschel, 33, to proceed to trial.
He faces one felony count each of fleeing a pursuing peace officer’s motor vehicle while driving recklessly and fleeing a pursuing officer’s motor vehicle and driving against traffic, two felony counts each of assault upon a peace officer or firefighter and assault with a deadly weapon, and one misdemeanor count each of driving under the influence of a drug, driving when privilege is suspended or revoked, and hit-and-run driving resulting in property damage. A second misdemeanor hit-and-run count was dismissed.
The chase began shortly after 5 p.m. Feb. 23 when police tried to stop the driver of a Ford F-150 pickup truck for reckless driving. He allegedly tried to ram a police car, then got onto the Ronald Reagan (118) Freeway near Chatsworth, going west toward Simi Valley.
California Highway Patrol and Los Angeles Police Department helicopters tracked the truck as it reached reported speeds of 135 mph on the northbound Golden State (5) and Antelope Valley (14) freeways.
The truck exited the 14 Freeway on Avenue N and proceeded westbound on the wrong side of the road, failing to stop at red lights, and reaching speeds of 120 mph on residential streets, according to the CHP.
Near the end of the pursuit, a female passenger was let out of the suspect vehicle in a gated community. She was detained for questioning, but was viewed as a witness, rather than a suspect.
Soon after dropping off his passenger, the suspect’s truck collided with a car and came to a halt near the intersection of Highland Avenue and Rancho Vista Boulevard. Broadcast footage showed smoke coming from the cab of the truck as authorities waited for the suspect to surrender, which he did around 7 p.m.
Druschel has been jailed since his arrest, with bail set at $285,000. The date of his next court appearance was not immediately available.
[Information via City News Service.]
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