ANAHEIM (CNS) - A driver who led authorities in three Orange County cities on a chase died when he jumped from a freeway overpass in Anaheim and landed in the northbound lanes of the Santa Ana (5) Freeway, prompting the closure this morning of a stretch of the freeway.
The pursuit began in Fullerton around 11:30 p.m. Thursday, but officers there lost sight of the vehicle and called off the chase, according to Sgt. K. McGowan of the California Highway Patrol.
An Anaheim police helicopter spotted the suspect vehicle in Buena Park and followed it until it exited at Euclid Street in Anaheim and slammed into the left median wall of the off-ramp, McGowan said.
Anaheim police, with assistance from the CHP, ordered the driver out of the vehicle, but the suspect refused to comply. After a short time, the driver exited the vehicle and, for unknown reasons, jumped over the median wall and landed in the northbound lanes of the freeway. The drop was estimated at 50 feet, McGowan said.
A news photographer at the scene said the suspect also led Buena Park police on a pursuit in that city before entering the southbound lanes of the Santa Ana Freeway at Beach Boulevard prior to the crash on the Euclid Street off-ramp.
The Euclid Street off-ramp from the southbound Santa Ana Freeway and the northbound lanes of the freeway at Euclid Street are closed until further notice.
A multi-agency investigation involving the CHP and Anaheim, Buena Park and Fullerton police departments is underway.
Photo: Getty Images