LANCASTER – A 25-year-old man in a stolen taxi was arrested early Friday morning after a four-hour pursuit that began in Santa Ana and ended near Lancaster.
Hugo Francisco Gonzalez was taken into custody around 3:30 a.m. on the southbound lanes of the Antelope Valley (14) Freeway near Avenue D north of Lancaster, authorities said.
CHP Officers began the pursuit on the Santa Ana (5) Freeway at about 11:05 p.m. Thursday, after the taxi was reported stolen from outside a convenience store in Santa Ana.
Santa Ana Police Department Sgt. Matt Hermans said the taxi driver left keys in the ignition and the engine of the Ford Crown Victoria running when he went into a 7-11 near the intersection of Flower Avenue and 1st Street at 10:53 p.m.
Hermans said the suspect drove off in the cab, registered to 24-7 Taxi Cab of Orange.
The cab entered a freeway and the chase was taken up by the California Highway Patrol.
The pursuit, averaging speeds of 40 to 50 mph, continued on the Santa Ana (5), San Gabriel River (605), Pomona (60), Long Beach (710) and Century (105) freeways, before the suspect followed the 5 North beyond Castaic to State Highway 138.
Broadcast footage showed a CHP cruiser initiating a PIT maneuver, which spun the taxi, before the driver retained control of the vehicle in the early stages of the chase.
Antelope Valley area CHP officers picked up the pursuit on eastbound Avenue D/SR 138 near 190th Street West in Lancaster, according to a California Highway Patrol report.
The officers “deployed the spike strip within the eastbound lane and successfully made contact with the suspect vehicle,” the CHP report states.
The pursuit continued eastbound at speeds ranging from 10 to 40 mph before the cab entered the southbound 14 Freeway and stopped.
“The vehicle finally came to a stop just due to the wheels being disabled,” said CHP Officer Raymond Lopez. “Since the front wheel had melted down, he pretty much had no option but just to stop.”
Hugo Francisco Gonzalez, a 25-year-old Santa Ana resident, was taken into custody without further incident and booked for felony evading, according to the CHP report.