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Driver, victim recovering after chase, collision in Covina [Updated]

A man who led police on a car chase through the San Gabriel Valley that ended in a violent crash in Covina was recovering Tuesday in the hospital, along with the driver he hit.

Both were undergoing tests and treatment for broken bones and internal injuries, according to officials with the Pasadena Police Department. The suspect was under police guard Tuesday morning, the officials said.

The man who led the chase was identified as Edgar Angorita, 45, of Hollywood, said Lt. Rodney D. Wallace. The other driver was a 21-year-old woman, whose name has not been released.

Wallace said Angorita, driving a Volkswagen sedan, broadsided the woman’s Mazda on the driver’s side around 11:45 p.m. at Barranca Avenue and East Puente Street in Covina about half a mile north of Interstate 10.

The chase started about 10:30 p.m. in Old Town Pasadena as police tried to stop the man on a minor traffic violation.

Wallace said the chase happened on surface streets and got up to speeds of 35 to 40 mph, eventually continuing onto the freeway at speeds that never surpassed 75 mph.

At one point, Angorita stopped his car when only one officer was following him. But he continued driving as the officer waited for backup, and the accident occurred shortly afterward, Wallace said.

Authorities said the 45-minute chase stretched through the cities of Arcadia, Monrovia, Duarte, Azusa, Covina, Glendora and West Covina.

Wallace said there is evidence Angorita was under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

[Updated at 11:43 a.m.: A previous version of this post did not name Angorita because he had not yet been identified by police. They have since released his name.]


High-speed chase ends in dramatic crash in Covina

-- Nate Jackson

Comments () | Archives (33)

WOW! I went to sleep last night thinking that the driver was dead, its GREAT to hear otherwise!

I watched the entire chase on channel 2 then switched to channel 9 to continue watching. It seemed rather strange that the police did not try to pit this guy durring the chase. It looked like there were several times in which they could have done this without endangering anybody. I don't know how each police department handles this type of cituation, but one has to wonder why the pit was not used in this case. I do know that the police do the best they can to stop these type of chases from getting any worse. My hat goes off to the police for the great job they do in protecting those durring these chases. My prayers are with the victim of the crash. As for the suspect, he will have to answer for what he did.

Pasadena PD are the worst offenders of over ticketing and harrassing drivers for just about anything. I hope the innocent driver sues them.

Glad to hear the HUMANS are ok. What about the dog?

I sure hope that she suffers no permanent injuries. That Mazda sure took a hit but it kept her alive. Must be a well built car.

As for the suspect, lock him up for life. Society doesn't need him out on the streets.

Watching this chase last night was very frustrating, i actually called both Pasadena and West Covina PD urging them to use the pit and bring this dangerous chase to an end...their answer? West Covina watch commander said to call and ask Pasadena PD about their pit policies if i want answers, and Pasadena PD advised me to call West Covina and inquire. UNACCEPTABLE!!!

As much as the local law enforcements do to protect us, they are lacking in this area. WE NEED THESE CHASES TO BE STOPPED before people get hurt. I went to sleep assuming the innocent victim had passed away...it took people on the scene a good 10-15 minutes to even begin to check on her or help her. UNACCEPTABLE!!!

We citizens rely on our local law enforcement to STOP these "runners" dead in their tracks! not cover 60 miles of road at high speeds endangering thousands of innocent people and terrorizing the residential streets and communities. What will it take to stop these types of pursuits? Following them from 100 yards behind WILL NOT DO THE TRICK!

Had the female driver been killed in that crash, all the agencies involved would have a lawsuit on their hands, and rightfully so. Where was the spike strip? where was the pit? where was the "box them in" technique? C'mon guys...let's grow a pair!!! stop these runners.

I also watched the entire event on TV and couldn't believe my eyes when the guy they were chasing stopped in front of Heritage park at Cameron and Grand for what seemed like a long time! the article is incorrect when it states that only one police car was there before the crazy guy started driving again. there was only one police car behind him when the driver stopped suddenly and the police car almost hit him from behind but almost inmediately four more police cars appeared and all the cops got out and took cover behind the driver's doors while the guy was gesticulating wildly with his arms inside the car and did not appear armed! it was almost as if the guy was asking the cops to stop him! but the cowards did nothing! they just waited and waited until the guy got bored and took off again! my heart sank when I watched this because I was almost certain he was going to cause mayhem and realized that the police had lost a great opportunity to stop him! and what I feared happened! I hated the police for failing again to protect the unsuspecting citizens! what happened to "Protect and Serve" ? the police should be ashamed of themselves for not stopping this chase when they had the chance. If they are afraid to do their job why do they become policemen! I felt so angry when I saw the horrible crash! I prayed that the person did not die becaused it looked pretty awful!! and I blame the cops as much as the deranged guy, if not more! THE WEST COVINA POLICE FAILED AT DOING THEIR JOB AND SHOULD BE ASHAMED! THANK GOD THE PERSON DID NOT DIE OR IT WOULD HAVE BEEN ON THEIR HEADS! THE POLICE BEHAVED LIKE USELESS COWARDS!!!!!

In response to the question regarding the pit maneuver. The pit is a specially trained technique that most departments don't use due to liability reasons. Some departments have specially trained officers that respond to a pursuit in order for them to perform the pit maneuver. I would probably guess given the number of pursuits and the type of pursuits Pasadena PD is typically involved in that they are not trained in the pit maneuver, but who knows. I've personnally taken a training class in the pit maneuver and a lot of factors must be taken into consideration before it is even attempted, such as speed, traffic, vehicle sizes and types. Also it must be orchestrated with the other units and done correctly otherwise the unit performing the maneuver can end up causing more problems than just spinning the suspects vehicle.

It did seem like the cops could have boxed in that car when it stopped and there were four police cars there. Also valid criticisms about the wisdom of continuing the chase. The cops did not do anything for the innocent victim but maybe it was best to wait for the medics. Hard to believe she survived the crash.

My question is why the police didn't just shoot at the tires when the car stopped... at least this would have kept the guy from taking off or going very far. The whole time watching this, I was dreading someone getting hit... and someone did. This person was just minding there own business, probably on their way home. There must be a better way to stop these #@&*% from hurting others... and ironically, they always come out without a scratch, while the innocent, in most cases, die. I pray the girl makes a full recovery.

These cops should really be ashamed of their cowardly behavior. What a total disgrace! When the guy stopped his car for like 2 minutes, they could have blocked him in instead of hiding behind their cars, or at the very least tased him or shot his tires out. I understand if the guy was just refusing to stop and not doing anything dangerous, but at that point, he had already run like 10 red lights, so it was obvious something like this was gonna happen, and the stupid cops kept following 100 yards behind him???

I must say my heart sank when I saw Edgar Angorita drive off after he stopped his car for what seemed about 3 minutes. All of us who were watching, knew this wasn't going to end well as Angorita pushed his luck running through red light after red light. Why didn't the Police act aggressively and disable his car when he was stopped?? Is it too much to ask to shoot some holes in his tires??


We need cops like you! When do you start the academy?

You know much more than they do, Im sure you could spread your wisdom to the rest of the force.

Drop the fry basket and get in that black and white ASAP!!

The Pasadena PD is great at Rose Parades and keeping their local potentates well kissed but this pursuit was both by the book and gutless on their part. This suspect was out of control and completely speeding through too numerous intersections against total red lights. The public risk was just too foreseeable and this watch commander should have authorized whatever measures possible to keep that vehicle and driver stopped. He covered his own ass, allowed this fool to resume his crazy path to a crash, and only by the grace of god (and no thanks to Pasadena PR) , the innocent driver was spared death.

Pasadena PD is a public relations entity and unable to distinguish when protocol needs to be dropped and positive police action employed putting the PUBLIC FIRST. Pasadena PD needs to either not pursue or let real police agencies take the lead as this sad, spectacle of commendable restraint, was shameful.

I was so frustrated watching this pursuit. There were several chances where the lead police car who was trained to do the pit maneuver could have performed it. The lead police car was given the OK to use the pit maneuver by his commanding officer since traffic was light during that time of day. Why the police officer did not take advantage of that opportunity I dont understand. Now we have a female victim who will probably be in pain for the rest of her life as a result of this accident.

I am so glad to see the responses posted here, calling for law enforcement to step-up and change their policies on high speed pursuits.

I too watched this all unfold live and live in the city where it tragically ended with an innocent citizen being devestatingly injured. That could have easily been my son, daughter, wife, friend or other loved one in that car. As furious as I was/am at the non-action taken by the pursuing officers, I realize that it is not their fault. They are dying to take these guys out just like you and I, but their hands are tied... it's the law enforcement policy makers that are to blame! Law enforcement has gotten so overly cautious and afraid to do what needs to be done in these situations, that they are no longer protecting the safety of citizens. Instead, they are too busy worring about covering their own asses, because they might get sued if they hurt one of these losers.

As others have said in this post, there were many opportunities for them to stop this guy when he was not in the busiest areas... and when he was stopped? Forget about it! Why did they not shoot out his tires? He was in a secluded area! Why did a car not pull in front of him a few hundred yards further up the road to box him in, or at least lay down spike strips while the other officers were talking to him? Nothing!! Instead he just pulled away and they followed like they were on a Sunday drive!! It was only a matter of time... like it is with all these pursuits.

Smart wepon technology is so advanced now, that military helicopters can immobilize cars from a mile away... in the dark... with pinpoint accuracy. Law enforcement needs to outfit a few of their helicopters with a nose mounted 50 cal machine gun, that can accurately take these guys out, without collateral damage! I'm not kidding... the gloves need to come off. These offenders laugh at law enforcement now, because they know they will not do anything. Take my suggestion and watch the number of high speed pursuits dwindle rapidly... anyone remember the movie "Blue Thunder"!!

I'm glad there's a clear video of this incident so the police cant whitewash the tragic mistakes they made. Bottom line, the police had a reasonable oppertunity to stop the suspect and for what ever reason let him continue. I'm pro-police this is not an attack on them. As a matter of fact we have three police officers in our family and we donate money every year before the holidays to our local police dept. But to ignore the huge blunder by the police would be adding more traggedy to this incident. For the sake of public safety the police should learn from their mistakes in this case. I hope and pray the 21 year old girl survives.

I just love you guys. Everyones a critic, yet no one knows sh*t about police work and policies. The police are damned if they do and damned if they don't. Do this, don't do that, why, why, why. And only one person who seems to understand that as much as the officer want to, they can't just disregard procedures and policies. So, what would have happened if, as some suggested, officers shot out the tires and the guy lost control and took out someone, or a ricchocet bullet hit a passerby -- by-golly, how dare the cops do that! Or suppose in attempting to pit, the guy started shooting at them and hit a by-stander. (Remember, no one knew if they idiot was armed, on something, or trying to commit suicide!) OH, but they would be wrong for doing that also. Why didn't they have just let the darn car run out of gas?! If you really want to Monday Night Quarterback these guy JOIN THE FORCE AND FIND OUT FOR YOURSELVES HOW HARD THEIR JOB IS!

Oh, there is one way this could have been avoided. The idiot driving the VW could have pulled over and taken the ticket. Enough said.

i dont get why they didnt just shoot out his tires when he was stopped the first time, but was exciting to hear them come by my house last night while i was watching it...lol

Since the Times thought my previous post was too for the cops and deleted it, let me say this. For all of you who think you know better than the police at how to stop fleeing suspects, leave your names and numbers at the local police Department. They can call you whenever someone is breaking the law, and you can do it your way. Good luck with that!!

Personally, I'll take the cops, any day.

I saw the the end result of this chase on TV. It was devastating. I send my thoughts and good wishes to the victim of the crash. The driver should be charges with attempted murder.

When the vehicle stopped by the park, officers began to approach it until Angorita started making his wild hand motions. They backed up at that point for their own safety, which is understandable since they didn't know if the driver was armed or not. Like other posts, I also felt badly seeing the car take off again. The reporters covering the story asked about the PIT, but by the time the trained officer was there the chase had moved in to a new jurisdiction and couldn't be completed. Spike strips weren't an option because there wasn't enough time to set up ahead of him.
When the crash happened I also assumed the worst for the other driver. The officers at that point were able to get to Angorita and had to fight to take him in to custody. Their actions in not getting the victim out of the car at that time was actually a good call. They wouldn't have had the extraction tools or medical supplies necessary to help the girl, and they may have done more harm than good if they pulled her out. Could an accident have been avoided by stopping the chase sooner? Maybe. But in the end it is still Angorita's fault that all of this happened, not the police.

What authority can we petition to change these cowardly law enforcement tactics in California? Is it the state, the CHP, local police depts? In other states, this suspect would have been stopped. Period. A runaway driver should be treated like a suspect running around on the freeway with a loaded gun. Liabilities aside, it is law enforcement's duty to put itself between harm and citizen safety no matter what.

I saw the horrible, preventable conclusion to this chase live on KCAL-9 & some kind of less-than-lethal vehicle immobilizer NEEDS to be deployed ASAP... Just sayin.

I'm glad to hear the young girl is alive, hopefully she did not suffer any permanent injuries. Does anyone know what happened to the dog???

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