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Suspect held in hit-run fatality in Woodland Hills

September 26, 2009 | 11:31 pm

After a brief standoff, police took a suspected hit-and-run driver into custody Saturday night after a pedestrian was killed in Woodland Hills, authorities said.

According to televised reports, the incident began when a driver broke through a traffic break on the 101 Freeway just after 8 p.m. and California Highway Patrol officers began a pursuit.

The driver got off the freeway at Topanga Canyon Boulevard and the pedestrian was killed on Ventura Boulevard about a block west of Topanga Canyon Boulevard, according to KTTV-Channel 11's Fox News.

Los Angeles police confirmed the basic details but there was confusion over whether the pedestrian fatality sparked the chase or it happened during the pursuit.  

KTLA-TV Channel 5 News reported that two people were injured and rushed to a hospital.

The suspect's car came to a stop on the side of Ventura Boulevard after plowing into a fence along the 101 Freeway. The back window of the vehicle, a white sedan with a sunroof, was shattered, possibly by gunfire. Los Angeles Police Officer Cleon Joseph said there was gunfire at the scene.

A television news report said the driver may have fired out of a car window and that officers apparently returned fire.

At the end of the pursuit, police and rescuers had to extract the driver, who appeared to be pinned in the driver's seat and against the roadside fence. Officers may have used a Taser to restrain the driver after removing him from the vehicle. He was taken away in an ambulance shortly before 11 p.m.

Traffic was diverted for blocks surrounding the incident for hours both along Ventura and Valley Circle boulevards.

—Howard Blume

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