Man Who Allegedly Stole CHP Cruiser Identified

Highway Patrol vehicle driving on a street

Photo: Getty Images

LANCASTER (CNS) - A 32-year-old man who allegedly stole a California Highway Patrol vehicle and led officers on a chase that ended when he jumped from the speeding cruiser in the Lancaster area and suffered fatal injuries, was identified Friday.

The driver was identified as John Figueroa Jr., according to the Los Angeles County Coroner's office.

According to the CHP, at around 11:40 a.m Tuesday, officers responded to reports of a red Toyota Corolla being driven recklessly on the northbound Golden State (5) Freeway. The driver subsequently crashed the car on the freeway just north of state Route 126, according to a statement from the CHP.

A CHP officer arrived at the scene to investigate, and during the investigation, the Corolla driver jumped into the officer's cruiser and drove away, according to the CHP.

Officers began chasing Figueroa north on the freeway near Hasley Canyon Road, continuing onto state Route 138 in the Antelope Valley. At some point, Figueroa struck a spike strip, which flattened one of the rear tires, causing him to lose control of the speeding vehicle.

Figueroa then opened the driver's side door of the cruiser and jumped from the moving vehicle, slamming his head on the pavement and skidding along the freeway. Media crews tracking the chase from the sky reported the car was going roughly 70 mph when Figueroa jumped.

The patrol car then crashed into a power pole and came to rest in a grassy area next to the highway. An officer was seen performing chest compressions on Figueroa after the crash.

Paramedics were sent to the scene on state Route 138 near 90th Street West at about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday and Figueroa was taken to Antelope Valley Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead, according to the CHP.

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