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Suspect held in hit-run fatality in Woodland Hills

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

Comments () | Archives (13)

As usual, the Times and the local TV news reporters got the facts wrong.
I can only speak to that of which I am aware: the hit & run occurred a block EAST of Topanga Cyn Blvd (not west, as reported), at the corner of Ventura Blvd. and Don Pio in Woodland Hills.
A good fours after the victim's death, the body was still in the street next to the curb, covered in a white sheet. Items of evidence lay on the Boulevard, circles=d in police chalk.

I only point this out as one of many examples of poor reporting. Every time I have been privy to the facts of a news story, I have seen the media make many misrepresentations of the facts.

Depending on which news outlet you read or listened to, the suspect was shot by police or he was tasered after being extracted from his vehicle.

Was the suspect apprehended on Ventura Blvd. as reported, or on the fron
tage street on the south side of the freeway?

Was there another suspect on the loose after the driver crashed his car? Depends on whom you believe.

It's no wonder the media outlets are now advertising for citizens (iReporters) to send in their video and reportage of news events. They couldn't be more inaccurate than the paid reporters who try to report the news.

This is a tragedy, the pedestrian killed was a 9th grade girl at Chaminade school.

Gotta love the initial media coverage of this....all were so quick to make this an LAPD pursuit that resulted in the death of a pedestrian. Well folks, hate to break it to you, but all LAPD did was help out at the end of this thing. I'm waiting for the posts blaming CHP for this, even though this pinhead brought all of this about by his own actions...

I drove by the scene last night and imagine my surprise when police vehicle after vehicle for the next 30 miles was screaming toward the site. So how many police vehicles does it take to subdue one bad guy? Or was it just a slow night and the only excitement around?

Jessica Roberts went to my school and god bless her and her family. May you rest in peace, we miss you, and well pray for you and your family.

Although a 9th grade girl may have died last night, the hit and run victim was a man in his 50-60's. I saw the accident. He was walking across Ventura and got thrown 10 ft and died. Yes CHP was pursuing a car. But the car was going 80+ miles an hour and ran the red light.

Jessica Roberts was my best friend. I miss her so much I cant handle this tragic news. God bless you and your family jessie. i love you

So, Susan...pray tell, what would you suggest the LAPD do in the future, in a situation like this? How about we just get the license number, and then we'll catch the guy at a later time? He led CHP on a pursuit, ran over an innocent pedestrian, rammed into a wall, and was refusing to get out of the car, and was possibly armed. Overall, he was a pretty good threat to public safety. So the police had to lock down and investigate the hit & run crime scene, as well as lock down the location of the pinhead driver (about 1 mile west of the hit & run location)...and you think they could do this with what, say 7 or 8 police units? If you have such a handle on how the police should handle situations, the LAPD is hiring...I bet they'd be THRILLED to have your expertise...

Oh, and your post shows a great deal of insensitivity towards the victim...but I guess it's all about you and how you were inconvenienced, isn't it?

There were two tragic incidents in Woodland Hills over the weekend. One occurred on Mulholland, a two car crash in the afternoon, in which a local 9th grade high school student lost her life, the other involving the 60 year old pedestrian on Ventura Boulevard detailed in the story above. The Times and news media have not provided details of the Mulholland accident, involving the tragic loss of a bright young lady. Deepest condolensences to the loved ones of those lost.

I was there. I know the area and know exactly what happened. An LAPD car and CHP were chasing the white Cadillac up and down Ventura Blvd at a speed of 80-100 mph. My friend saw the entire thing and I showed up shortly after and saw the body in front of Jerry's Deli.

The chase started on the 101, exiting Topanga, turning eastbound on Ventura, up to Desoto, turning around and flying down Ventura Blvd (west bound) at 8pm on a Saturday night. If you know the area, there are many restaurants and businesses still open. It is very common to see people out with their families.

Why was this person so important to apprehend? He wasn't important. According to reports, he failed to stop at a police roadblock or (something of that nature). Maybe I would feel a bit different if this was armed robbery suspect.

This man did not deserve to die.

Are any of you surprised at the lack of coverage on this tragedy? Our newspapers and local news usually love these stories. They love anything that they can sensationalize and boast their ratings. After all it is a TV show selling commercials right? I’m not surprised in this case. They’re protecting the LAPD and CHP from any criticism because they know they were in the wrong.

What would people say if this was a family of 4 crossing the street on their way to Jerry's Deli for dinner? Would it be any different? It shouldn't be. Wrong is wrong. This man was somebody's father, somebody's brother, and somebody’s son. He didn't have to die.

This story deserves a bigger conversation.

Shame on you LA Times for not questioning the LAPD and CHP for going 100 mph on Ventura Blvd at 8pm on a Saturday night to catch a local worthless gangbanger.

This is an example of why many cities have a "no-pursuit" policy. Innocent people are killed. This was tragic. Dean was my next-door neighbor - "the Mayor of Morro". He will be missed.

I think some people are mixing up two different accidents that occurred on Saturday September 27. One was an accident that killed a young woman and critically injured her father and another accident where a man was being pulled over for a routine stop decided to flee and hit a 60 something year old man pedestrian and ran he then hit a car and then a pole. Obviously I don't know all the facts but what I do know is there were two separate accidents that day.

this did not kill jessica roberts. she died in a car accident.


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