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Teacher suspected of lewd acts drives truck off hill during pursuit

 

A Los Angeles teacher suspected of committing lewd acts on a child led police on a car chase throughout the South Bay before crashing into a tree on Tuesday, authorities said.

Detectives had been watching the suspect's home in Lakewood for about a day as part of an ongoing investigation, said Lt. Ty Henshaw of the Bell Police Department. Details of the man's alleged crime were not released, but Henshaw said it occurred "some time ago." Authorities planned to arrest him but a warrant had not yet been issued, Henshaw said.

The man's name was not released. Henshaw said he was a teacher employed by the Los Angeles Unified School District. The school district and the district attorney's office had been working with investigators, he said.

The chase began after detectives approached the man's pickup truck about 12:30 p.m. in Lakewood.

"He said, 'I'm not stopping, I'm suicidal,' put the car in gear and drove off," Henshaw said.

California Highway Patrol and the Lakewood Sheriff's Office were called in to help follow the driver, who led authorities on the 405 and 10 freeways and along Pacific Coast Highway through Torrance before his vehicle left the road and plunged down an embankment in Rancho Palos Verdes.

The vehicle went airborne and crashed into a tree about 1:30 p.m. The man's condition was not immediately known.

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— Kate Mather

Follow Kate Mather on Twitter or Google+.

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