Pursuit of a Felony Vehicle Results in Suspect Crashing into An Innocent Driver and Killing the Occupant NR2304wm

March 3, 2023

Los Angeles: In the early morning, of February 16, 2023, Devonshire patrol units were in the area of Roscoe Boulevard and Balboa Boulevard. Officers observed a Toyota Rav-4 matching the description of vehicle wanted in an armed street robbery travelling westbound Roscoe Boulevard. Officers observed that the edges of the rear license plate were bent inward, which obscured reading the plate number. As they proceeded westbound, officers checked the front license plate and observed that plates were in the same condition, but they were able to confirm it was the wanted vehicle.

The vehicle matched the description and photographs of a vehicle wanted in a street robbery. Earlier in the officers’ shift, officers were informed that occupants of the vehicle are considered armed and dangerous.

The officers activated their emergency equipment and attempted to conduct a traffic stop.  At which time, the Toyota Rav- 4 accelerated at a high rate of speed and failed to stop at a red phased tri-light at Roscoe Boulevard and Louise Avenue.  At which time, officers advised Communications Division they were in pursuit. As the pursuit travelled westbound, the Toyota Rav-4 failed to stop for a red phased tri-light and crashed into the front driver’s door of a Honda Civic travelling southbound Lindley Avenue.

After the crash, the suspect and the passenger exited the vehicle and fled from the scene. Officers followed the driver in their police vehicle as he ran westbound. The suspect ran into the back of a residence to escape apprehension.

Paramedics responded to the scene and pronounced the victim of the Honda Civic deceased.

Officers requested a perimeter and responded back to crash scene. During this time, officers observed a rifle in the front driver’s seat compartment and a large Nitrous Oxide tank in the back of the vehicle. A Devonshire Patrol Sergeant and an Air Unit responded and proceeded to secure the perimeter.

Metropolitan Division K-9 Units were requested and responded to search the area for the suspect. The driver was located and arrested without incident.

Suspect Esteban Garcia was transported to Devonshire Division where officers from Valley Traffic Division who are Drug Recognition Experts, examined him for possible signs of impairment with negative results. During the impound inventory of the Toyota Rav-4, a loaded rifle and nitrous oxide tank was recovered and taken into custody.

The Multi-Disciplinary Collision Investigation Team (MCIT) responded to the scene to investigate. MCIT Detectives canvassed the scene for surveillance cameras and observed no cameras in the immediate area.

At Devonshire Station, Detectives, advised that Suspect Garcia was wanted on at least four recent armed robberies. During the interview of the suspect, he admitted to these robberies. However, Suspect Garcia stated that he was not involved in the car crash or driving.  Suspect Garcia said he was carjacked by two male gang members.

The victim in the Honda Civic was a sophomore at California State University-Northridge. The victim’s name is being withheld pending next of kin notification.

Suspect Garcia was arrested by officers and booked for Section 2800.3 “Evading Police Causing Death”.

Devonshire Robbery/Gangs Detectives are filing and handling the criminal investigation.

The Multi-Disciplinary Collision Investigation Team is handling the collision investigation. We would like to remind everybody when involved in a traffic collision to stop and check on the other parties, make sure they are not injured, call 9-1-1 if they need medical attention, and to exchange information. Do not make a traffic accident into a crime by leaving.

Anyone with any additional information is asked to contact Detective Jorge Oseguera, Traffic Group, at (213) 486-0690 or e-mail him at 34236@lapd.online. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (1-877-527-3247). Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call the LA Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (1-800-2228477) or go directly to www.lacrimestoppers.org. Tipsters may also visit www.lapdonline.org and click on “Anonymous Web Tips” under the Get Involved-Crime Stoppers” menu to submit an online tip.