California state police arrested a man on Tuesday after allegedly assaulting a police officer, then leading cops on a long, winding, sorta high-speed chase from behind the wheel of a dump truck.
The dump truck chase, which like many police chases in California these days was broadcast live to the world, captivated its online audience. It's easy to understand why. State police followed an unidentified suspect through southern Riverside and San Diego counties while news choppers watched from above. The driver allegedly tried to run over a police officer, according to initial reports, and the dump truck might have been stolen. Plus, it's not every day you see a high speed chase with a big-rig dump truck. Despite the numerous laws being broken, no injuries were reported.
The police had limited options to put an end to the chase because the suspect drove, well ... a freaking dump truck. Police speaking with KNBC, the local affiliate streaming the chase, explained that typical police tactics for high-speed chases, like spike strips and PIT maneuvers, would not work against the dump truck. A spike strip would cause the dump truck to possibly lose control, endangering the other drivers. A PIT maneuver — when a police car attempts to force a car to stop by hitting its side — would not work because the dump truck is impervious to police cars. It would merely crush them.
They weren't even able to keep him contained to this gas station parking lot.
At one point, the driver pulled off the highway and drove into a gas station parking lot. Surely, driving a dump truck around the lot and escaping would be impossible,. This was the end, we thought. We were wrong. The dump truck driver managed to do a full lap around the parking lot and escape back onto the highway without striking another vehicle. It was, frankly, rather impressive.
Around this time KNBC knew they had Internet gold — a dump truck chase! — provided the pursuit didn't end poorly. The network started pulling out all the stops. Boom! All of a sudden there were two different chopper angles of the dump truck:
But the driver's brief flash with infamy ended shortly thereafter. The suspect pulled into another gas station, perhaps thinking he could tempt fate twice. His second foray into a gas station parking lot ended when he found his path impeded, and attempted to escape inside the building. Police followed him and arrested him shortly after.
Thankfully, the high-speed dump truck chase ended peacefully.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.