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Deputies led on wild chase that includes crashes, carjacking, kidnapping

December 17, 2010 | 11:40 pm



A 30-year-old Chatsworth man was in custody Friday night in Santa Clarita after a dramatic string of crimes involving a stabbing, an assault, a carjacking, a kidnapping, another auto theft, multiple car crashes and resisting arrest, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said.

Authorities said the chain of events started about 5:50 p.m. when Aaron Clay Tanner allegedly stabbed his mother multiple times and pushed her out of their car on the 14 Freeway at the interchange with the 5 Freeway, near Mission Hills.

Tanner then drove north on the 14 and exited at the Newhall Avenue off-ramp in Newhall, authorities said. At the bottom of the off-ramp, he reportedly crashed into another vehicle in a park-and-ride lot. About 6 p.m., a witness called the Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Station to report the hit-and-run. Deputies soon arrived and a woman told them that she had been assaulted and that her PT Cruiser had been carjacked, with her 4-year-old son inside.

A deputy spotted the PT Cruiser about four miles away, where the suspect had crashed it near Carl Boyer Avenue and Golden Valley Road in Canyon Country. The suspect had rear-ended another vehicle and then backed into a tree, disabling the PT Cruiser.

As the deputy hurried to help the child, the suspect got out of the car, circled around and stole the deputy’s car, the Sheriff’s Department said. The deputy immediately alerted other patrol deputies and a nearby Sheriff’s Department helicopter.

Near Newhall Ranch and Santa Clarita roads in Saugus, deputies pursuing the suspect saw him drive at a high rate of speed to the end of a cul-de-sac. He crashed the patrol car head-on into a 4-foot block wall, went over an embankment and dropped about 100 feet. The car rolled several times and came to rest at the bottom, where it caught on fire.

As the deputies rushed to reach the suspect and the burning radio car, they saw the suspect reaching for a shotgun that had become dislodged in the vehicle. The deputies tussled with the suspect, eventually using a Taser to subdue him. The suspect bit several deputies on their legs and hands as they tried to handcuff him.

“Numerous people are being medically treated because of the suspect’s outrageously violent actions,” said Capt. Mike Parker of the sheriff’s Headquarters Bureau. “A lot of cars were damaged, but more than anything else we are concerned about all the adults and child who were injured, and hope they all come out of this OK.”

The child, who received minor injuries, was treated by doctors and released. His mother was being treated at a hospital for injuries to her face. The mother and child are residents of Palmdale.

The mother of the suspect was stabbed multiple times in her upper body, but preliminary reports were that her injuries were not life-threatening. She also lives in Chatsworth. All other victims are residents of Santa Clarita Valley.

Tanner was hospitalized in serious condition. The Sheriff’s Department said he would be booked on charges of attempted murder, kidnapping, carjacking, attempted carjacking, auto theft, assault with a deadly weapon, evading arrest, and felony hit-and-run with injuries. His bail amount was expected to be about $500,000.

-- Martha Groves