LANCASTER, Calif. -- A suspect stole a California Highway Patrol cruiser and led police on a high-speed chase through Los Angeles County before fatally jumping out of the moving vehicle onto the 138 Freeway.
After leaping from the cruiser in the Antelope Valley at 45 mph, the suspect hit his head on the roadway and was immediately unresponsive. Officers pulled him off the roadway and began calling for medical attention.
A CHP spokesman later confirmed the suspect was declared dead after being transported to Antelope Valley Medical Center.
The incident started with a collision in the Santa Clarita area. Officials say when a CHP officer responded to the scene, the suspect was somehow able to jump into his running cruiser and take off with it.
At one point, officials say the suspect also brandished a shotgun and assault rifle. The suspect was reported to have mental health issues.
He fled north on the 5 Freeway at speeds approaching 100 mph and eventually transitioned to the eastbound 138.
A short time later, the suspect opened the driver side door of the vehicle while it was still going around 45 mph, and jumped out. His head hit the asphalt hard and he was not moving as officers approached. The cruiser then crashed into power poles on the side of the road.
Officers immediately moved in and initially dragged him off the roadway before providing medical attention.
A CHP spokesman later explained they dragged him away because the lines from the damaged power poles were arcing, and they were concerned about the possibility of the poles and electrified lines falling onto the road.
Officers were later seen performing CPR on him in the roadway before paramedics arrived.
The suspect's name has not been released.