Kyp Arnold, Teacher Accused of Lewd Acts, in CHP Chase That Goes Airborne (VIDEO)
demonik / KCAL9 / YouTube
A wild pursuit of a suspect reportedly wanted for lewd acts on a child ended with the driver's pickup flying off an embankment in a kamikaze move worth of Dukes of Hazzard.
The 1 p.m.-hour chase went along the 405 freeway and ended up on surface streets in the South Bay, where a California Highway Patrol unit attempted a PIT maneuver that spun the vehicle into a tractor-trailer, according to footage of the pursuit aired on KTLA News and KCAL9.
That didn't stop the driver, though:
The truck continued on surface streets until -- seemingly on purpose -- it flew off an embankment, catching much air and crashing into what KCAL9 said was an unoccupied learning center at Crenshaw Boulevard and Indian Peak Road in Rancho Palos Verdes.
View Larger Map
KCAL said the driver had told authorities he wouldn't be taken down by cops.
The 1:30 p.m. crash then set into motion a serious rescue and extraction effort by paramedic and fire crews. It wasn't clear if the suspect survived.
Twitter use @LAScanner had this take on the spectacular ending:
— @LAScanner (@LAScanner) July 10, 2012
[Update at 2:50 p.m.]: The Los Angeles Times and KCAL reported that the suspect is an LAUSD teacher under investigation for alleged lewd acts.
We reached out to Bell police but couldn't yet get through. In somewhat of an acknowledgement, an LAUSD rep told the Weekly the district is working on a statement.
CHP Officer Saul Gomez, meanwhile, told the Weekly the whole thing started at approximately 12:49 p.m. when Bell cops tried to contact the suspect regarding the investigation, apparently at a residence.
He allegedly got into the pickup and took off.
Gomez said the suspect made it known to cops that "he knew they were going to arrest him, but they weren't gong to arrest him, and and he was considering suicide."
At 12:54 p.m., because the pursuit was on a freeway (Artesia Boulevard and the 405 at the time), the CHP was called in to take over, he said.
The chase hit the 90 freeway, the 405 again, and the 110 freeway before the suspect exited and crashed near Crenshaw and Indian Hill about 1:35 p.m. he said.
The man was trapped for a while but was eventually pulled out and put into an ambulance.
[Update at 2:57 p.m.]: The LAUSD named the suspect as Kyp Arnold, a physical education teacher at Southeast Middle School in South Gate.
View Larger Map
The district stated he was arrested today "on suspicion of lewd behavior with a former student, and possibly additional victims."
LAUSD says he's been with the district for eight years and also worked at Nimitz Middle School, Gage Middle School and Orchard Academies 2B.
School officials say they're cooperating with the "ongoing investigation."
[Added at 3:06 p.m.]: We couldn't get through to Bell police, but City News Service did and came up with this account of how it started:
"Earlier in the week we received information that an LAUSD teacher committed some lewd acts with a child,'' said Lt. Ty Henshaw of the Bell Police Department.
Henshaw said Bell police had the man's residence in Lakewood under surveillance for a day or two. He said police were about to arrest the man at 12:40 p.m. -- the result of an investigation conducted by his department, the district attorney's office and school police -- when the suspect walked out of his home.
"We tried to stop him when he came out. He did stop and he said, 'Hey, I know why you're here. I'm going to commit suicide,''' Henshaw said.
He then got in his vehicle, rolled up the window and drove away.
[Added at 3:31 p.m.]: CNS also quoted Henshaw as saying the suspect was conscious and talking when he was rescued, so it looks like he survived.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss LA Weekly's biggest stories.